Afaan Oromo/Chapter 03

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Chapter 3: Pronouns
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Introductory ConversationEdit

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Girma: Maqaan kee eenyu?   play
Jim: Maqaan koo Jim. Ati hoo?   play
Girma: Girmaan jedhama. Eessaa dhufte?   play
Jim: Lammii Ameerikaati. Ati hoo?   play
Girma: Jimman jiraadha. Ani barataa yunivarsiitii dha. Hojiin kee maal?   play
Jim: Jaallee nagaatif hojjedha. Maal gosa barnootaa qu'atta?   play
Girma: Qorichan qo'adha. Fuute jirtaa?   play
Jim: Miti, hin fuune. Ati hoo?   play
Girma: Anis hin fuune.   play
Jim: Deemuun qaba. Baga wal agarre.   play
Girma: Anis baga wal agarre. Nagaatti.   play

[For translation see here]

Personal PronounsEdit

The personal pronouns as subjects and direct objects are listed below along with possessive markers.

Subject Pronouns Direct Object Pronouns Possessive Pronouns
I ani me na my, mine koo
we nuti, nu'i us nu our, ours keenya
you ati you si your, yours kee
you (pl.) isin you (pl.) isini your, yours (pl.) keessan(i)
he, it inni him, it isa his, its (i)saa
she isheen her ishee her, hers ishee
they isaan them isaani their, theirs (i)saani

Like English, Oromo uses different forms of personal pronouns to indicate their role in the sentence. While “he” and “him” may refer to the same person, English uses “he” for subjects and “him” for objects. Oromo has several forms for all nouns, including pronouns, though for now we will only deal with the subject (nominative) and direct object (accusative) forms.

“She likes him” — “Isheen isa jaalatti
“He likes her” — “Inni ishee jaalata
“We buy it” — “Nuti isa binna
“Do you hear me?” — “Ati na dhageessa?” or more commonly “Na dhageessaa?

Possessive PronounsEdit

Possessive pronouns go after the nouns they modify. The word kan can optionally be used to show possession.

My shoes — kophee koo or kophee kan koo
Our country — biyyi keenya or biyyi kan keenya
Its price — gatii (i)saa or gatti kan isaa

“And”, “Also”Edit

To express “too, also”, Oromo uses the suffix -s for sentences and the word hoo for questions.

“And you/ what about you?” — “Ati hoo?”
“And yours/ what about yours?” — “Kee hoo?” or “Kan kee hoo?'”
“Me, too” — “Anis
“She, as well” — “Isheenis
“And they are: …” — “Isaanis: …”

Polite FormsEdit

Oromo uses plural pronouns (isin and isaan) also as the polite/formal pronouns. Mostly, one uses the polite form when talking to/about older and respected members of the community. In many areas of southern Oromia, ati is rarely used (and considered rude) and only the polite form of “you”, isin, is used.

Interrogative PronounsEdit

Interrogative pronouns are used in questions, and come before the verb and either before or after the subject. Often, if the verb is “is/are”, this verb is dropped when using an interrogative pronoun. The main interrogative pronouns are:

What — Maal(i)
Why [lit. “for what”] — Maaliif(i)
How — Akkam(i)
When — Yoom
Where — Eessa
From where — Eessaa
Who — Eenyu
Whose — Kan eenyu
How much, many — Meeqa
Which — Kam(i)




Maqaan kee eenyu?”

“What is your name?”

___ jedhama

“I am called ____”, “My name is ___”



Umuriin kee meeqa?”

“How old are you”

Eessaa dhufte?”

“Where are you from?”



___ lammii Ameerikaati

“___ am/are/is American”

___ lammii Itoophiyaati

“___ am/are/is Ethiopian”



Biyyi kee eessa?”

“Where is your country?”



Lammummaan kee maali?”

“What is your nationality?”

Ati eessa jiraata?”

“Where do you live?”


I live

barataa yunivarsiitii

university student


work, job

Hojiin kee maal?”

“What is your job?”

Jaallee nagaati

Peace Corps

Jaallee nagaatif hojjedha

“I work for the Peace Corps”

Maaliif asi dhufte?”

“Why did you come here?”

Gara Itoophiyaa maaliif dhufte?”

“Why did you come to Ethiopia?”

gosa barnootaa

school subject



Fuute jirta” (m) / “Heerumte jirta?” (f)

“Are you married?”



miti, lakki


Fuudheera (m) / heerumeera (f)

“I am married”

Hin fuunne (m) / hin heerumne (f)

“I am not married”

Deemuun qaba

“I have to go”

Baga wal agarre

“It was nice to meet you”


“Take care”

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