Ngakarimojong: Present, Future and Perfect Tenses


Verb constructions in Ngakarimojong are quite complicated, far more so than in Western Nilotic languages such as Acholi or Lango. Ngakarimojong verbs fall into two classes: the “Ki” class and the “To” class. Verbs from each class are conjugated differently, and there are no universal indicators that determine whether a verb belongs to the “Ki” class or the “To” class. However, as we shall see, the actual conjugation of verbs in the present, perfect and future tenses is relatively simple. The past tense and subjunctive are a different story, but those will be separate posts.

Present Tense 


  • Unlike in Western Nilotic languages such as Acholi or Bantu languages such as Swahili, the conjugated verb precedes the subject pronoun in Ngakarimojong.
  • There are two first-person plural pronouns in Ngakarimojong: iswa and yokIswa signifies a more exclusive “we”, which includes the speaker but not the parties being addressed, whereas yok includes both the speaker and those being addressed.

“To” Class (Akilot–To Go): 

Alosi ayong: I go

Ilosi iyong: You go

Elosi inges: He/she/it goes

Ikilosi iswa/yok: We go

Ilosete iyes: You (pl.) go

Elosete ikec: They go

“Ki” Class (Akisil–To Reconcile/Make Peace): 

Esili ayong: I reconcile

Isili iyong: You reconcile

Isili inges: He/she/it reconciles

Ikisili iswa/yok: We reconcile

Isilete iyes: You (pl.) reconcile

Isilete ikec: They reconcile

  1. Components of the verb: 
  2. Subject prefix: E-
  3. Verb root: -sil-
  4. Suffix: -i
  5. Subject pronoun: ayong

Future Tense 

The future tense consists of an irregular auxiliary verb, abunore (to come), conjugated in the present tense, followed by the infinitive. First, let’s lay out the present tense conjugation of abunore:

Abuni ayong: I come

Ibuni iyong: You come

Ebuni inges: He/she/it comes

Ikiponi iswa/yok: We come

Iponete iyes: You (pl.) come

Eponete ikec: They come

So, a the conjugation of the verb akingarakin (to help) in the future tense will look like this:

Abuni ayong akingarakin: I will help

Ibuni iyong akingarakin: You will help

Ebuni inges akingarakin: He/she/it will help

Ikiponi iswa/yok akingarakin: We will help

Iponete iyes akingarakin: You (pl.) will help

Eponete ikec akingarakin: They will help

Present Perfect 

“To” Class (Akimat–To Drink): 

Amasit ayong; I have drunk

Imasit iyong; You have drunk

Emasit inges: He/she/it has drunk

Ikimasit iswa/yok: We have drunk

Imasito iyes: You (pl.) have drunk

Emasito ikec: They have drunk

“Ki” Class (Akilip–To Request/Pray): 

Elipit ayong: I have requested

Ilipit iyong: You have requested

Ilipit inges: He/she/it has requested

Ikilipit iswa/yok: We have requested

Ilipito iyes: You (pl.) have requested

Ilipito ikec: They have requested

Past Perfect

  • I’ve noticed that, on occasion, past perfect is sometimes substituted for past tense in conversation.

“To” Class (Akimat–To Drink): 

Amasit ayong: I had drunk

Imasit iyong; You had drunk

Amasit inges: He/she/it had drunk

Ikimasit iswa/yok: We had drunk

Imasito iyes: You (pl.) had drunk

Amasito ikec: They had drunk

“Ki” Class (Akilip–To Request/Pray): 

Elipit ayong: I had requested

Ilipit iyong: You had requested

Elipit inges: He/she/it had requested

Ikilipit iswa/yok: We had requested

Ilipito iyes: You (pl.) had requested

Elipito ikec: They had requested


Sample vocabulary: 

  • Akiitan: To need (Ki class)
  • Akiworikin: To talk (Ki class)
  • Akimor: To share (To class)
  • Akigang: To protect (To class)
  • Akidol: To arrive (To class)
  • Akitem: To Try (Ki class)
  1. I need
  2. You have protected
  3. We will try
  4. You (pl.) had arrived
  5. They talk



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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.