Deverbatives

Certain nouns are formed in Sesotho by using verbs as stems and adding prefixes to them. 

PERSONAL
The first kind of deverbatives refer to people. Here are some examples:

Original verb Translation Noun Translation
bapala play sebapadi player
bina sing sebini singer
eta travel moeti traveler/visitor
haha build sehahi builder
kopa ask mokopi beggar
kula being sick mokudi patient
lema plough molemi farmer
ngola write mongodi writer
nyala marry monyadi groom
nyalwa being married monyaduwa bride
oka nurse mooki nurse
pheha cook sephehi cook
qapa compose seqapi composer
reka buy moreki buyer
reka buy morekisi seller
rena govern/reign morena chief/king
ruta preach/teach moruti preacher/teacher
thusa helper mothusi helper
tsoma hunt setsomi hunter

The prefix mo- usually indicates that it is a person, yet se- is used when refering to an expert of specialised person in a particular field (the verb ending -a is then usually changed to -i but there are exceptions like "morena"). 

 

NON-PERSONAL
This kind refers to nouns that do not refer to people. Examples are:

Original verb Translation Noun Translation
apara dress diaparo clothes
bina sing pina song
bina sing mmino singing/music
bitsa call lebitso name
eta travel dieta shoes
fa give mpho gift
fiela sweep lefielo broom
fofa fly sefofane airplane
ipona to see oneself seipone mirror
ja eat dijo food
ja eat sejana plate
lema plough temo agriculture
ngola write lengolo letter
ngola write mongolo handwriting
phela live bophelo life
rapela pray thapelo prayer
rata love lerato love
sebetsa work mosebetsi work
shapa hit tjhapo punishment
thunya shoot sethunya gun

A number of shifts in sounds may also occur in the creation of deverbatives. This includes a shift from a b to a p (bina>pina); f to ph (fa>mpho); h to kg (hamela>kgamelo); l to t (lema>temo); r to th (rapela>thapelo); sh to tjh (shapa>tjhapo).


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Sesotho.web.za
J. Olivier (2009)