Narrative Tense in Luganda

The learning units here have a heavy reading focus. As you begin reading and writing stories, you will need to become familiar with the Narrative Tense. The Narrative Tense is used for describing what took place when a number of verbs depend on each other. The verb on which it depends may be in any tense, and this initial verb will indicate the time the event or story took place. However, as you will discover, the Narrative Tense most often is used when telling stories set in the far past.
The Narrative tense marker is the prefix “ne”:

Nenkola (Ne-n-kola): “and I did.”

The “e” in “ne” drops with the you, and he/she subject infix:

Ne-o-kola > Nokola “and you did.”
Ne-a-kola > Nakola “and he/she did.”

When describing an object, use the corresponding object infix:

Nekikola: “and it did.”

Exercises: Translate into Luganda using the Narrative Tense

1) And they went.

2) And they bought a parrot, and the parrot flew away.

3) And we crossed three rivers, and they were deep, and I dropped my book, and they found it, and gave it to me.

4) The boy hit the snake, and it went and was lost.

5) And the trees grew, and brought much shade, and we sat under them.

Answer Key:

1) Nebagenda.

2) Nebagula ekikusu, ekikusu nekibuka.

3) Netusomoka emi’ga essatu, negaberamu amadzi mangi, etikabo nekingwako, nebakiraba, nebakimpa.

4) Omulenzi yakuba omusota, negugenda, negubula.

5) Emiti negikula, negileta ekisikirize kingi, netugitulamu, netugitenda.


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