ua (ma class, plural maua)
1) (botany) flower
ua (u class, plural nyua)
1) yard (an enclosure typically attached to the back of a house):
2) fence (of sticks or grass, of the type used for such an enclosure):
-ua (infinitive kuua)
1) to kill
From Wiktionary: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ua
I think the verb (present progressive, indicative) is "Ninaua" (there are conjugation charts (affirmative and negative) in Wiktionary), but still I do not get it:
ninaua (1st person, mimi)
unaua (2nd person, wewe)
anaua (3rd person/Class 1, yeye/(m))
tunaua (1st person, sisi)
mnaua (2nd person, ninyi)
wanaua (3rd person/Class 2, wao/(wa))
Edit: In this other page, it appears "Ninaua" (I kill), and "Ninauawa" (I am killed)
For instance, "ninaua" means "I kill," whereas "ninauawa" means "I am killed." Lastly, you can add place or time markers to show when something happened or where something is.
From Wikiversity, Swahili Grammar: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Swahili_Grammar
(the verb charts in Wiktionary are generated by a source code and perhaps they have some errors; the same case appears with the verb "-enda" (kwenda, to go), it is shown "ninakwenda" instead of "ninaenda")
Edit 2: This post have been fixed (07-21-2017) and now it is showing the same as in Wiktionary. The Swahili verb chart includes now the affirmative and negative forms in the same chart. Derived verb forms have also been added below the chart.
I was trying for "I kill flowers in my yard" as a way to remember the differences. I fail.
Still not 100% what constitutes a syllable, given the whole vowels pronounced separately thing. Ua to me is two, but then nywa feels like more than one as well, so I probably should have guessed based on that that the ku was required. Again, I fail.
A syllable has an a, e, i, o or u (with one exception). y never gets its own syllable. syllables never have two vowels.
The only times you can have a syllable with no vowel is when you have a word that starts with m followed by a consonant (other than w) or n followed by a consonant (other than y).
So, kuua is a three syllable word ku-U-a kunywa is a two syllable word KU-nywa mchele is a three syllable word m-CHE-le mwezi is a two syllable word MWE-zi nne is a two syllable word N-ne nywele is a two syllable word NYWE-le
There are a couple of small exceptions. Also, the infix -m- as an object in a verb gets its own syllable, as in ninampenda (I like him/her), which is ni-na-m-PEN-da. Also, the n's in 4 are always separate syllables, so viti vinne (four chairs) is VI-ti vi-N-ne and maua manne (four flowers) is ma-U-a ma-N-ne.