LESSON #104: Je, wajua? (#13)

First of all, we are back and this time for good-yay!

Onto the lesson, as you may or may not know Swahili is mainly made up of Arabic vocabulary and also in small part vocabulary borrowed from other languages mainly English (the name of the language itself is Arabic, Sahil, meaning coast). But generally Swahili tends to borrow from numerous languages and that I have managed to prove over the years as I’ve been teaching students who speak different languages.

I knew a couple of words that were from other languages but the other day I was teaching a class about N class nouns (which as you may or may not know are mostly borrowed nouns i.e. from other languages). Funny thing is when I started listing common nouns my students kept telling me the meaning even before I asked and it turns out not only do we borrow lots of words from Arabic & English but Indian languages as well (mostly Gujarati).

Now here’s the thing, most English words can be ‘Swahilinized’ by adding an I at the end (as a suffix), this is usually done for words ending in a consonant, however if they end in a vowel then the ‘Swahilinization’ is slightly different. So if you are ever in a fix it’s ok (but not encouraged) to ‘Swahilinize’ whatever English word you need to use (all my students get really excited when I tell them this-lazy mode activated ha ha!)

So this is more of an FYI post, am gonna list a number of words that we have managed to borrow from other languages and if you happen to know of others please add them on the comment section. This list is by no means exhaustive and will probably get updated from time to time. Excuse the apparent ignorance but am just gonna classify all Indian origin languages under ‘Indian’ which I know is not a language but hopefully you get what I mean.

Portuguese:

Bendera – flag 

Mezatable

Gerezaprison

Pesamoney

German:

Shule – school

Helacoin/s (although generally it just means money)

English:

Motokaa motorcar

Koti coat

Baiskelibicycle

Mashinemachine

Sinemacinema

Penselipencil

Persian:

Chaitea

Acharipickle 

Serikaligovernment 

Diwanicouncillor 

Indian:

Bunduki gun, rifle

Memsabu – madam 

Dawa medicine 

Chupabottle/glass used to make bottles

Kalamupen 

Garicar 

Bimainsurance 

Dukashop 

Pipabarrel 

Sandukutrunk, suitcase, box 

Arabic:

WaziriMinister 

Raispresident

Sita, Saba, Tisasix, seven ,nine

By the way I like to give due credit so instead of sounding oh so knowledgeable (ha ha!) here’s a big list of more Swahili words of Arabic origin

 

Translation Challenge #10… (swa-eng)

Been more than a month since I last posted anything, what can I say I’ve been busy…chasing paper, in Swahili we say “nakimbiza mshiko”
Thanks to Michael Theys for bringing it to my attention that my website was down, apologies if you couldn’t access it for the past few days-I saw it but ignored it as just another little something that will sort itself out in a few hours, bad idea!
Anyways I was going to post something totally different then changed my mind at the last minute and now we are gonna do some translating. Am gonna talk to you about something I discovered today that really made my day. Here goes…

Kama umewahi kuishi Dar, maeneo ya Mbezi Beach utakuwa umegundua kwamba kuna kero moja inayotuudhi sana wakazi wa huku. Kero hii ni ukosefu wa sehemu ya kufanyia mazoezi, maarufu kama ‘gym’. Tangu nirudi Dar, takriban miezi minane iliyopita, nimekuwa nikitafuta sehemu ya kufanyia mazoezi bila mafanikio. Ikanibidi hata nijiunge na ‘gym’ moja iliyopo maeneo ya Oysterbay ambapo ni mbali na kwetu na matokeo yake sikuweza kufanya mazoezi mara tano kwa wiki kama nilivyopanga. Mwisho wake nilipoteza fedha zangu jambo ambalo liliniuma sana.

Basi hivi leo nimetembelea jengo moja jipya huku maeneo ya kwetu na kuona tangazo la kufunguliwa gym kwenye ghorofa ya juu ya jengo hilo. Tangazo lilisomeka “opening soon”! Yani furaha yangu haiwezi kuelezeka, na nina hakika wakazi wengi wa Mbezi Beach hasa sisi kina dada wenye miili isiyoturidhisha tumefurahi mno! Asanteni sana “Body Line” kwa kusikia kilio chetu na kutuletea mkombozi.

Mazoezi hoyee!

LESSON #89: Swahili with lyrics…#02 (Majanga)-UPDATED

I did promise I would cover this song and since ahadi ni deni (a promise is a debt) here you go. The lyrics are interesting in that the type of Swahili used is more poetic than your usual grammatically correct kind of Swahili, so keeping that in mind I will translate in a way that is better understood by those who are not too knowledgeable in the language.

As for the general meaning it’s referring to one person doing all the dirty work whilst somebody else is reaping all the benefits or in other cases the person that should be compensated for losses/damage caused to them is the one being accused of causing them in the first place. You get the drift. So without further ado… (enjoy singing along while I translate, will be done in a minute)

http://youtu.be/5Eqi7iPyVMg

Mama yuko hoi mama, tumpeleke hospitalini, dokta anataka salali
mom is in bad condition, we should take her to the hospital, the doctor (however) is asking for his salary

Pigwa nimepigwa mie, polisi kawahi yeye, kibao nimegeuziwa mie
am the one who got beaten, he’s the one who hurried to the police, now the tables have been turned against me
×2

Pombe nimenunua mie, kulewa kalewa yeye, ugomvi kaanzisha yeye
I bought the alcohol, yet he’s the one that got drunk, he’s the one that started a fight
Kijijini nimtoe mie, kumlisha nimlishe mie, jeuri afanye yeye
I get her from the village, I feed her, yet she’s the one being rude to me/showing me attitude
×2

Majanga, majanga mbona majanga, mbona majanga….
disaster, disaster, this is just disaster

Ndoa tumefunga sie, mapenzi yetu wenyewe, talaka udai wewe
we got married, it’s our love, but you are the one asking for a divorce
Nyimbo nimeimba mie, video nimeshuti mie, shoo ukafanye wewe
I sang the song, I shot the video, you are the one doing the shows
×2
Chumba nimetafuta mie, kodi nilipe mwenyewe, nje unilaze wewe
I looked for the room, I paid the rent, yet you are the one making me sleep outside
Gari ninunue mie, mafuta niweke mie, misele upige wewe
I buy the car, I buy gas, yet you are the one cruising in it
×2

Majanga, majanga…..

Kumzaa nimzae mie, kumlea nimlee mie, matusi anitukane yeye
I give birth to him, I raise him, yet he’s the one insulting me
Mahari atoe yeye, kuoa aoe yeye, vya ndani uvile wewe

he pays the bride price (dowry), he marries (the girl), yet you are the one enjoying the benefits (having an affair with the wife
×2
Hela katafuta yeye, nyumba kajenga mwenyewe, mali tugombee sie
he worked for the money, he built the house, yet we are the ones fighting for his property (after death)
Kufiwa nifiwe mie, kulia nilie mie, pole uchukue wewe
I am the bereaved, I am the one mourning, yet you are the one accepting the condolence money
×2

Majanga, majanga…

LESSON #78: Colors (Rangi)~Part II

Picking up right from where we left off in Lesson #16, here’s more colors for a complete feel. And below this is the audio bit which will explain more about these colors’ names and how they came about… → -1656″ class=”Read More -link”>Read More

Mwaka mpya nao…

Well, heri ya mwaka mpya, happy new year to you all. We have quite a while to go before midnight here in Dar but we are praying the Good Lord will be kind to us once again! 2013 was the take off year for me and Fun-Lugha and 10 months down the line I gotta say I ain’t doing too shabby! Thanks to my readers, regular ones (I see you @Boga and @Joyce Keeley!) and the not so regular ones. And to my students, Read More

Free Swahili lessons!

So I just hit the ‘100 likes’ mark the other day on my facebook page and of course am very very grateful. I thought of the best way to show some love to my readers/listeners/subscribers/followers and decided on giving away FREE in-depth Swahili lessons for 6 weeks to 2 lucky people (via skype of course).

Anybody of any proficiency level and from anywhere can put their name forward.

How it’s gonna work:

Leave a comment on this post or on my facebook page and for the shy ones you can e-mail me (edrhuppiah@gmail.com) or send me a facebook message . In a month’s time, I will randomly pick 2 names by manually noting down all the names on little pieces of paper, mix them up and…you know the drill.

1 month left so good luck everyone! Kila la kheri! (And againasanteni sana!’)