Learn Kipsigis (Kalenjin)

For context, Kipsigis (or Kipsikii, Kipsikiis) is part of the Kenyan Kalenjin dialect cluster. The Kipsigis people are the most populous tribe of the Kalenjin in Kenya, accounting for around 60% of all Kalenjin speakers.

This is a basic introduction to common words and phrases used in the Kipsigis language. The translation is in the simplest form and grammatically correct, enabling anyone yearning to learn Kipsigis to find it very easy to consume.

Unlike English, the language doesn’t have gender-defining pronouns such as she or he. To start you off, here are examples of pronoun usage in the table below.

  First Person Second Person Third person
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
English I We You You He/She/It They
Word Ane Echek Inye Okwek Ine Ichek
In a sentence Ane newendi Echek chependi Inye newendi Okwek chependi Ine newendi Ichek chependi
Translation I’m the one going We are the ones going You are the one going You are the ones going He/She is the one going They are the ones going

Table 1: Pronoun usage in Kipsigis and their English translations

Greetings in Kipsigis

The following are common greetings in Kipsigis:

In Kipsigis In English
Chamgei Hello
Chamgei mising Hello (a response to Chamgei)
Yamonei How are you?
Achamgei I am fine (a response to Yamonei)
Betut nemie Have a good day
Betut nemie akinye Have a good day too
Si ru komie Sleep well
Si ru komie akinye Sleep well too
Siketuyen Till we meet again
Siketuyen saishek alak See you some other time
Kongoi Thank you
Seiseri Goodbye
Less common salutations
Amune subuhi? How is your Morning?
Amune langat? How is your Evening?

Table 2: Common greetings in Kipsigis and their English Translations

Note

For the sake of this article, I have added the translations of the greetings less commonly used among the Kipsigis. However, these greetings or salutations are hardly used among the Kipsigis community.

Kipsigis Love words

Love in Kipsigis is Chamyet. It is a word commonly used when families and loved ones interact and communicate.

In Kipsigis In English
Achamin I love you
Achamin Akinye I love you too
Achamin mising I love you so much
Chamanenyun My love
Achamin ak muguldenanyun tugul I love you with all my heart
Amochin I need you
Atunin I will marry you
Inenyun You are mine
Seiseri Chamanenyun Goodbye, my love
Kipur Kipagenge Let's live in unity
Kipur en Kalyet Let's live in peace
Amache atorochin I want to hug you

Table 3: Love language in Kipsigis and their English translations

Directions in Kipsigis

In case you happen to get lost or are looking for someone in the heartland of Kericho and Bomet counties, the following phrases can help get you back on track;

In Kipsigis In English
Imeano? Where are you?
Kewano? Where did you go?
Imenye ano? Where do you live?
Iwendi ano? Where are you going?
Kemiano? Where were you?
Keyapu ano? Where are you coming from?
Ipano? Where are you from?
Takolo panda? How far along are we?
Inekit? Are you close by?
Wi eut ap katam Go to the left
Wi eut ap taai Go to the right
Awendi Kongasis I’m headed East
Awendi cherongo I’m headed West
Awendi murot katam I’m headed North
Awendi murot taai I’m headed South

Table 4: Directions in Kipsigis and their English translations

Common Questions in Conversations

The following are some of the common questions in conversations among the Kipsigis.

In Kipsigis In English
Ata? How much?
Ikastotoi ano? How are you feeling?
Iune? How have you been?
Kikurenin ngo? What is your name?
Ilioynen? What are you doing?
Iyame ne? What are you cooking/eating?
Inyonen au? When are you coming?
Kaune Petut? How was your day?
Amunee Tupchoshek? How is your family?
Kelene What are you saying?
Roponi olon? Is it raining over there?
Kewe kanisa? Have you gone to church?
Ne ni? What is this?
Ne netestai? What's going on?
Ikose? Are you listening?
kegas? Have you heard?
Keyepiit? Did you listen?
Amunee Chitugul? How is everyone?
Amunee Mungaret? How's work?
Nambaishek ap simet nengung kwata? What’s your phone number?

Table 5: Common Questions in Kipsigis and their English translations

Everyday Conversations

You find yourself in a marketplace, school, homestead or even church thronging with Kipsigis speakers. These are some of the words that can get you through your interactions with them.

In Kipsigis In English
Amoche Awo gaa I want to go home
Atinye teputyet I have a question
Kongoi Thank you
Mutyo - This can be used while consoling people who have recently lost loved ones or when somebody is injured, or when empathizing with anyone who has experienced some kind of loss I am Sorry
Itakaat You are welcome
Sikoberurin Kiptayat/Kamuktaindet God bless you.
Sikoripin Kiptayat/Kamuktaindet May God protect you.
Lakwet nebaibai Happy child
Toreton Help me
Mongen I don’t know
Sonyo koron I will come tomorrow
Ngepe Let us go
Nyon Come
Anyonen I am coming
Kanget I am Tired
Akane Me too!
Iluu asista It is sunny
Roponi It is rainy
Atinye nego I have a sheep and goats
Luu cheko Drink milk
Ye pek - In the Kipsigis dialect, The act of consuming milk or water is not the same. To drink milk is Luu, and to drink water is Ye. Drink water
Wi Sukul Go to school
Nebo konyit Guest of honour
Mieno Kanisa? Where is the church?
Ataachin en Konyun I welcome you to my home.

Table 6: Everyday conversations in Kipsigis and their English translation

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