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Basic GrammarEdit

Phonology Edit

Vowels Edit

5 monophthongal vowel sounds

Letter IPA Example
A a [ɑ(:)] wazi clear, open
E e [ɛ(:)] dege bird
I i [i(:)] ni I, me
O o [o(:)] ona see
U u [u(:)] kula food

  • In order to denote a long/stressed vowel, the ltter is doubled: sa 'word', saa 'time, hour, clock'

Consonants Edit

21 consonant sounds written with 20 letters and 1 letter combination

Letter IPA IPA* Example
B b [b] bo you (sg.)
C c [tʃ] kucega to arrive
D d [d] dudo doubt
F f [f] kufa to do
G g [ɡ] gozu pleasure
H h [h] [ɦ] hugu game, play
J j [ɟ] [dʒ] jama station
K k [k] kaya home, house
L l [l] laila night
M m [m] maxina car
N n [n] na with, and
Ng ng [ŋ] ngo cow
P p [p] para to stop
Q q [ʁ] [χ] qadani small
R r [r] rabi angry
S s [s] sa word
T t [t] taku will
W w [w] [ʋ] wargi green
X x [ʃ] xez chair
Y y [j] yon day
Z z [z] zabibu raisin

  • The second column shows possible, but less frequent, pronunciations.
  • Ng can be spelt as Ŋ ŋ as well.

Nouns Edit

Nouns do not have grammatical gender or cases in Kriul. The can end in any sound that's allowed word-finally in Kriul.

At the most a noun can have 6 different forms that are made by adding prefixes to the nominal root.

All nouns are inflected the same way although not all nouns have all the 6 forms in common use.


Prefix Example Translation
Singular - harena, kula 'sand, arena, pitch'; 'food'
Plural ma- maharena, makula 'sands, arenas, pitches'; 'food items'
Augmentative Singular ji- jiharena, jikula 'desert'; 'feast, supper'
Augmentative Plural maji- majiharena, majikula 'deserts'; 'feasts, suppers'
Diminutive Singular ki- kiharena, kikula 'beach'; 'snack'
Diminutive Plural maki- makiharena, makikula 'beaches'; 'snacks'

Other words derived from nouns

Noun to Verb ku- kuharena 'to sand down', kula 'to eat'
Noun to Adjective -i harenai 'sandy', kulai 'nutritious, alimentary'
Noun to Agent noun -ntu harenantu 'sandman', kulantu 'eater'

Pronouns Edit

Personal Pronouns Edit

Sg. 1st ni I, me
Sg. 2nd bo you (thou)
Sg. 3rd he he, she, it, him, her
Pl. 1st mi we, us
Pl. 2nd yu you
Pl. 3rd mahe (mae) they, them
Passive on one

Prepositions Edit

Meaning Preposition Example Translation
Genitive YA Maxina ya Jon Jon's Car; The car of Jon
Kaya ya ni My house
Lative LE Ni na anda le Marakex. We are going to Marrakech.
Ni li da pan le Mark. I gave the bread to Mark.
Ablative MIN Ni na ja min Marakex. I'm coming from Marrakech.
In ta min dahabu This is (made) of gold.
Essive / Comparative KA Ka tu If I were you
He zama ka dege. S/he sings like a bird.
Locative BE Ni ta be Helsinki. I am in Helsinki.
Pan ta be taula. The bread is on the table.
Partitive YE Ni na bua ye kawa. I am drinking coffee.
Mi zo kupa ye fruta. We'll buy some fruit.
Comitative NA Kawa na sukar Coffee with sugar
Ni ta na sofa nowi. I have a new sofa.
Abessive SIN Kawa sin sukar Coffee without sugar
Ni ha pata kukaa sin bo. I cannot live without you.

Verbs Edit

Verb stems never change their form. Tenses and moods are expressed by grammatical particles and prefixes placed before the verb.

Prefix/Particle Example Translation In Sentence
Infinitive KU- kufa to do, doing, deed
Negative HAKU- hakufa no to do, not doing, undoing
Past Participle ME- mefa done Kula (ta) mefa. 'The meal is done/ready.'
Negative HAME- hamefa not done Kula (ta) hamefa. 'The meal is not done/ready.'
Present Tense - fa do, does Ni fa. 'I do.'
Negative HA ha fa do not, does not Ni ha fa. 'I do not'.
Past Tense LI li fa did Ni li fa. 'I did.'
Negative HA LI ha li fa did not do Ni ha li fa. 'I did not do.'
Future Tense ZO zo fa shall do, will do Ni zo fa. 'I shall do.'
Negative HA ZO ha zo fa shall not do, will not do Ni ha zo fa. 'I shall not do.'
Conditional Mood NGA nga fa should do, would do Ni nga fa. 'I should do.'
Negative HA NGA ha nga fa should not do, would not do Ni ha nga fa. 'I should not do.'
Imperative Mood - fa do! Fa! 'Do!'
Negative HA ha fa do not! Ha fa! 'Don't do!' 'Do not!'

When stressed the negation particle can sometimes be lo.

kuta - to be, being

kuta na (Or: kutana) - to have, having, possession

kuja - to come, coming, arrival

kuanda - to go, going, departure

kukaa - to live, living (kaa 'life')

kukaya - to inhabit, to live, to stay (kaya 'home, house')

kujama - to station, to park (from jama ' station').

Numbers Edit

Cardinal Ordinal
1 yek rixon
2 sibi ya sibi
3 tatu ya tatu
4 oku ya oku
5 qanu ya qanu
6 tufa ya tufa
7 hobi ya hobi
8 galo ya galo
9 lune ya lune
10 isumi ya isumi
100 ikulu ya ikulu
1 000 mia ya mia

For other numbers Arabic, Spanish or English numbers are used (often with simplified pronunciation).




Example textEdit

Yonrixon Monday

Yonsibi Tuesday

Yontatu Wednesday

Yonoku Thursday

Yonqanu Friday

Yontufa Saturday

Yonhobi Sunday

Oi Hello, Hi

Ayo Hey, Bye, Goodbye

Kemo boja? How are you?

Nija mo zuri. I am fine.

A bo? And you?

Zuri, xukran. Fine, thank you.


Kege bokaya? Where do you live?

Be Paris. In Paris.

Nikaya be San José. I live in San José.


Ken heta? Who is he/that?  

Heta Juan. He/That is Juan. 

Ken ta Juan?  Who is Juan?

Juan ta aqu yani. Juan is my brother.


Ke botaka bwa? What do you want to drink?

kawa, xukran. (some) Coffee, please.

Bobwa ye winu? Do you drink wine?

Lo, ni ha bwa y’alkool. No, I do not drink (any) alcohol.

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