Infix tenses in Luganda

There are a number of tenses in Luganda which communicate the timing of activities. These tenses include:

  • Still (e.g., She is still studying.)
  • Not yet (e.g., She has not yet studied.)
  • No longer (e.g., She is no longer studying.)
  • Just now (e.g., She has just now studied.)

The creation of these tenses is fairly straightforward. You simply modify the subject appropriately, add an infix and then the verb stem.

Modified subject prefix+ infix + verb stem.

The combinations of modified subjects + infixes vary for each tense:

  • Still : subject + kya
  • Not yet: negative subject + na
  • No longer: negative subject + kya
  • Just now: Immediate past subject + ka.

She is still studying. = Akyasoma.

She has not yet studied. = Tanasoma.

She is no longer studying. = Takyasoma.

She has just now studied. = Yakasoma.

You can see here that the concepts of still/not yet are connected (both contain -kya-).

Finally, there is another way of conjugating “not yet,” which is even simpler.

negative subject prefix + naba + infinitive

So, you could say” Tanaba okusoma” or “Sinaba okulya,” both of which would be perfectly accurate ways of saying “She has not yet studied” or “I’ve not yet eaten.”


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