Ngakarimojong: Introductory Lesson

Part I: Orthography and Pronunciation 

  • H, Q, V, X and Z are not used in Ngakarimojong.
  • G is always hard.
  • C is always pronounced like “ch.”
  • S is always pronounced like “th.”
  • “Ng” functions as one letter, and represents a nasal sound similar to the ending of the “ing” gerund in English.
  • “Ny” also functions as one letter, and is pronounced just as a combination of those two letters would be in English.


  • A, E, I, O and U
  • Each vowel has an open and a closed tone (except A, which only has an open tone).

Open A: pronounced as in “rather.”

Open E: pronounced as in “fell.”

Closed E: Pronounced as in “bed.”

Open I: pronounced as in “bit.”

Closed I: pronounced as in “meat.”

Open O: pronounced as in “toe.”

Closed O: pronounced as in “thought.”


Part II: Grammar

Subject/Object Pronouns:

  • Ayong: I/me
  • Iyong: You (singular)
  • Inges: He/him/she/her/it
  • Iwon: We (inclusive, as in, “all of us”)
  • Iswa: We (exclusive, as in, “those of us over here”)
  • Iyes: You (plural)
  • Ikes: They/them

As noted these pronouns can be used as both subjects and objects. For example:

  • Emalim inges: He is a teacher (subject)
  • Mam nyamina ayong inges: I don’t like him (object)

“To Be”: Present Tense

In Ngakarimojong there are two verbs that each express different aspects of the English verb “to be,” ayakau (to exist or to be present) and arakau (to be).


Ayai: I am

Iyai: you are

Eyai: he/she/it is

Ikiya: we are

Iyakasi: you (pl.) are

Eyakasi: they are


Eyai papa kang lore: My father is at home

Eyakasi ngikaakaitotoi nangolol: My siblings are at the river

Iyai iyong namana: You are in the field

Eyakasi ngibuin namoni: There are hyenas in the bush

Iyakasi iyes Kampala: You are all in Kampala


Arai: I am

Irai: you are

Erai: he/she/it is

Ikirai: we are

Irai: you (pl.) are

Erai: they are

In the present tense, the verb arakau is usually implied and not actually articulated. For example:

Ekasyoman ayong: I am a student

Ngitunga iwon: We are all human beings

Ngikaracuna iyes: You are all young men

Ngikedunyeta ikes: They are neighbors


Part III: Vocabulary


  1. Ejok-a?: How are you?
  • Ejok: Fine


  1. Ebalaai?: Any problems?
  • Emam: No problems


  1. Ikoni ai?: What’s up?
  • Mam ngace: Not much


  1. Toyakas daadang: Hello everyone
  • Ejok: Fine


  1. Maata: I greet you
  • Maata a ngaatuk: I greet you in the name of cows
  • Maata a ngiimwa: I greet you in the name of sorghum
  • Maata a akwap: I greet you in the name of the land

Basic Smalltalk:

  1. Ngai ekonikiro?: What’s your name?
  • Erai ekaakiro Sam: My name is Sam.


  1. Ai ibuni iyong-a?: Where are you from?
  • Abuni ayong alo Canada: I’m from Canada.


  1. Kotere nyo ibunit iyong Najie-a?: Why have you come to Najie?
  • Abunit ayong Najie anerai acamit ayong akisyom ngiemuto ka ngitalio a Ngijie: I’ve come to Najie because I want to learn about the history and culture of the Jie.


  1. Iyeni iyong Ngakarimojong-a?: Do you know Ngakarimojong?
  • Mam nyayeni ayong Ngarimojong ejok, ayeni wadyo-wadyo. Nait, atemi ayong akisyom: I don’t know Ngakarimojong very well, I only know a little bit. But I’m trying to learn.


  1. Alakara nooi!: Thank you very much!
  • Alakara dang!: Thank you as well!




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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.