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Sat, Jul. 25th, 2009, 03:01 am
arsinyk: Two questions about verbs

This seems really basic, but I can't find an explanation anywhere:

1) How does kiswahili deal with sentences like, "I want someone to do X". For example:

I want you to play a game. = "Ninataka unacheza mchezo"? Or "Ninakutaka kucheza mchezo"? Or what?
I want you to speak with him. = "Ninataka unasema na yeye"? Or "Ninakutaka kusema na yeye"? Or what?

2} How do you say something like, "I want to do X to someone". For example:

I want to speak with you. = "Ninataka kusema na yeye"?
I want to hit him. = "Ninataka kupiga yeye"?
I want to kiss you. = "Ninataka kubusu wewe"?

Asante sana!

Sat, Jul. 25th, 2009 07:33 am (UTC)

I am still a newbie to this language myself.

We learned at our eveningclass, that the second verb of a sentence is always in infinitiv with ku-

"Ninapenda kucheza" or "Ninapenda kusoma kitabu kingereza"

Try out this

Sat, Jul. 25th, 2009 07:59 am (UTC)

No, you should use transitive verbs, I mean endings like "ia"

Kwa mfano,
"ninataka kukupigia" - I want to hit you
"nataka kumpigia" - I want to hit him.

P.S. And it's better to say "nataka kupiga gumzo na wewe" ;)

Sat, Jul. 25th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)


Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)

Thank you so much for your help!

Do you always change -a to -ia when the verb is transitive? Like, "I hit him" would be "nilimpigia" not "nilimpiga"? Or do you know somewhere I could find a good explanation of how this works?

What is the difference between "nataka" and "ninataka"?

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)

You should use -ia when we speak of something that belongs to a man, but is not his unalienable property (like his hand or smth else). I mean if you say 'I hit him'='Nilimpiga' ; or 'I cut his hand' - 'Nilimkata mkono' , but 'I cut his shirt' - 'Nilimkatia kanzu'.
-ia has the meaning of doing smth for/to smb 'nilimnunulia kitabu' - 'I bought him a book'
It is also used to show the direction 'waliendea kuni' - 'they went to get brushwood'
And even the meaning 'for the sake of' - 'alifia mapinduzi' - 'he died for the sake of revolution'.
But I've never heard smth like 'Ninataka kukupigia'. Just 'Ninataka kukupiga', if I am not mistaken.

Fri, Jul. 31st, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)

The ending -ia means the same thing as -ea? Are there rules about when it's pronounced which way?

Sun, Aug. 2nd, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC)

Exactly. You should use -ia when there are sounds /a/, /i/, /u/ in the base like -pIta -pitIA; -fA -fIA; -kAta -katIA;
and -ea with /e/, /o/ in the base like -pEnda -pendEA; -sOma -somEA

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)

My friend, please tell me, why should we use that -ia in such a simple phrase as 'I want to hit him', why couldn't we just say 'Ninataka kumpiga'. Is this smth new? I searched throughout our favourite grammar book I haven't found it.

Mon, Jul. 27th, 2009 08:29 am (UTC)

Yes, it would mean "hit hit for him" or smth like that.
Karibu nimeshasahau lugha yote =(

Mon, Jul. 27th, 2009 08:34 am (UTC)

Usijali rafiki. Niliisahau sana pia. Kutoendelea kusahau hatuna budi kwenda tu nchini au kuanza kuwafundisha wengine :)

Sat, Jul. 25th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)

Concerning the first question: swahili doesn't have like complex subject 'want smb to do smth', you schould use like desirable clause 'I want you to play a game'-'[Ningetaka] ucheze mchezo'

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 12:15 am (UTC)

So you could just say "ucheze mchezo" and that would get the point across? Or am I misunderstanding you?

What if it were "he wants you to play a game"? Would that be "angetaka ucheze mchezo"?

Thanks so much for your help!

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 08:31 am (UTC)

'Ucheze mchezo' is exactly polite way of saying 'play the game'. They don't have exactly the construction want smb to do smth,so this would be the closest one. And,yes,'he wants you to play a game' would be 'angetaka ucheze mchezo'.

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)

I don't know the language rules, I grew up with the language so I never had to learn the rules. I can provide a translation; maybe you'll be able to extrapolate the language rules.

I want you to play a game = Ninataka ucheze mchezo.
I want you to speak with him = Ninataka uongee na yeye.
I want to speak with you = Ninataka kuongea na wewe.
using "ongea" instead of "sema" is a little bit more normal
I want to kiss you = Nataka kukubusu.

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)

correction to the last one, "Ninataka" is more grammatically correct than my "nataka".

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)

So is "nataka" more casual than "ninataka"? elmaljan suggested "ningetaka ucheze mchezo". Would that work as well? Do they mean different things?

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)

Ningetaka is more like "I would like" than "I want you to".
Nataka is a lot more casual, nearing incorrectness but it's understood in Kenya. Tanzania has a stricter sense of Swahili language.

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)

Thanks! I was not totally sure that 'ninataka ucheze mchezo' is also correct. It's just that 'ningetaka ucheze' sounds more pleasant for me :)

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)

Thank you!

Let's see if I can extrapolate:
He wants me to visit you. = Anataka nitembelee na wewe.
His mother wants him to eat good food. = Mama yake anataka ale chakula kizuri.

I tried to help my friend. = Nilijaribu kulisaidia rafiki langu.
I wanted to help my friend study math. = Nilitaka kulisaidia rafiki langu kunsoma hesabu.

Also, thank you for mentioning that about "ongea/sema". If any of my other word choices are weird, please let me know.

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)

He wants me to visit you = Anataka nikutembelee.
His mother wants him to eat good food = You got this one right!

I tried to help my friend = Nilijaribu kusaidia rafiki yangu
I wanted to help my friend study math = Nilitaka kusaidia rafiki yangu kusoma hesabu.

I'll admit that I'm not too sure if it's rafiki yangu or rafiki wangu. That's the danger of growing up with casual Swahili. I do know for sure it's not rafiki langu. That sounds more like a thing than a person.

Hope this helps some, sorry I don't know the more formal rules ;p

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)

My dictionary says that "rafiki" is class 5/6, which is where I got "langu". But I guess it's weird because it's referring to a person?

With the second two: If you wanted to say "I tried to help him" instead of "my friend", would that be "nilijaribu kumsaidia"? And would "I wanted to help my friend study it", where "it" was "math", would that be "nilijaribu kusaidia rafiki yangu kunsoma"?

This is helping a lot! I think

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)

*I think I'm getting a sense of the rules.

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)

Glad it helps some :)

I'm thinking that's why it sounds weird. Because if it was mango for instance: embe langu.

Nilijaribu kumsaidia is totally right :)

As for the second one it would be: Nilijaribu kusaidia rafiki yangu kulisoma.

The "li" indicates the "it". Though it can change depending on the subject. If the math was changed into book for instance it would be: Nilijaribu kusaidia rafiki yangu kuKIsoma. It changes into a "ki" for the "kitabu".

Hope my rambling hasn't complicate things ;p

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)

Let me interfere. Concerning rafiki. The word itself belongs to the class 5/6 rafiki-marafiki, still it should be used with the class m/w - the class of the living beings, but it is used with the class 9/10, because friends are considered like close relatives, and all the relatives we use with the same 9/10 classes. ex. mama yangu

Sun, Aug. 2nd, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)

So rafiki is only class 5/6 in the way you form the plural, and otherwise works like class 9/10? Or are there other places where it uses 5/6 affixes?

Sun, Aug. 2nd, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)

No, you got it right: rafiki is only class 5/6 in the way you form the plural, and otherwise works like class 9/10.

Sun, Aug. 2nd, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)

Awesome. Thanks so much for all your explanations. It's really helped!

Sun, Aug. 2nd, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)

You're welcome :)