Vikatuni…#01

Am adding a new category titled vikatuni (cartoon strips) whereby I will be featuring popular Swahili strips for your entertainment and of course Swahili learning purposes. I won’t be explaining right away so feel free to comment and tell us your interpretation then I will also add my 2 cents.

First one is by popular cartoonist, Masoud Kipanya (Kipanya meaning a tiny mouse hence most if not all of his strips usually feature a ‘mouse head’). Brilliant at his work and extremely witty. You can look him up online if interested.

kipanya 1

 

Bush anakuja… nasikia  anakujaga na magari yake, msosi wake, toilet pepa zake! Tunaomba Bongo aje na barabara zake na pantoni zake…

LESSON #98: STOVE 1 (Subject prefixes)

If you’re a regular lurker on here you know I post lessons in mixed fashion i.e. I mix all levels and don’t follow a certain pattern. My favourite topic is hands down this simple one that teaches you how to create a simple Swahili sentence using the above formula, STOVE (borrowed from Simplified Swahili). So what does it stand for?

S– Subject prefix T– Tense O– Object infix V– Verb E– Ending vowel

To easily understand this topic, my approach is that we break the formula into the different little sections, discuss them, and once we’ve covered all 5, we bring them together to form a simple, complete sentence. Note that in Swahili 1 sentence could be equal to 5 or more words in English.

eg, Ninakufundisha (1) = I am teaching you (4), pretty cool huh?!

With that in mind let’s start off with S (subject prefix). In English we have a 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person and it. These are represented by personal pronouns and subject prefixes. As in:

                                    Personal pronoun                       Subject Prefix

1st person                            Me (Us)                                     I (We)

2nd person                          You (You)                                You (You)

3rd person                           Him/Her (Them)                   He/She (They)

First of all note that, unlike in English, Swahili has many variations of it (about 7-8 of them). This is due to the use of noun classes- which I might cover at some point. Also note that when dealing with STOVE, it is all about humans (and other living beings i.e. animals, birds, insects and fish). So we are learning how to form sentences involving living beings ONLY as the main subjects or objects of a particular sentence. eg. We are not learning how to say the chair broke, because a chair is an inanimate object, rather we are learning how to say the girl broke a nail, or they carried many loads etc etc. Speaking of subjects (and objects) just what are they? A subject in a sentence is the one doing the act while the object is the one for which or to which an act is done. eg. If a sentence says the girl carried the dog, the girl here is doing the main act of carrying a dog hence she is the subject while the dog is the object because the main act in the sentence (carrying) is being done to them.

With that in mind, let’s see what personal pronouns and subject prefixes we have in Swahili (which perfectly match with the English ones). Note that whatever’s in brackets is the plural, also in Swahili he/she & him/her are each represented by only one personal pronoun/subject prefix unlike in English:

                                       Personal pronoun                       Subject Prefix

1st person                            Mimi (Sisi)                                     Ni (Tu)

2nd person                          Wewe (Nyinyi/Ninyi)                   U (M)

3rd person                           Yeye (Wao)                                    A (Wa)

So knowing all about subject prefixes let’s go back to the very first example sentence, ninakufundisha. Using STOVE, we now know what ni, stands for, it stands for I. So even if we didn’t know what ninakufundisha means, at least we’d know the sentence is saying I am doing, did, will do….. something. So the next thing to learn is T which stands for Tense, which will be the next topic I cover. Before signing off it is also important to note the fact that in Swahili sentences tend to sound repetitive, eg. The girl carried a dog= msichana (the girl) alibeba (she carried)  mbwa (a dog). Note the repetition, the girl she carried a dog, in English the subject prefix is deemed unnecessary and repetitive but in Swahili it is not, it is absolutely imperative that it be included. Cant explain any further, it’s just one of those things so just know that.

I have written this lesson the way I would usually present it, some students get it right off the bat whilst others take a bit longer. No sweat, that’s why the comment section is for, ask and it shall be answered for thee.

Till next time…

(Fun) Swahili Learning Recommendations

So a regular ‘lurker’ (ha ha!) on this site contacted me a few months ago suggesting things to include on here as well as recommending a very popular Tanzanian TV program as a Swahili learning tool. The program is called ‘Siri ya Mtungi’ and it’s been around for more than 3 years now and has been receiving very good reviews.

Now if anyone knows how effective learning a language via TV programs can be that would be me! I am a self confessed K-Drama addict (don’t judge me he he!) and thanks to my many years of watching Korean dramas I can confidently say you cannot talk behind my back, in Korean that is-I will certainly hear you and clearly understand! This is all thanks to my serious addiction to not only Korean dramas but music, variety shows-u name it, I’ve watched it!

Anyways my point is, there’s no better way to learn a language than by accident i.e. you just tend to pick up words, phrases, sentence structures and before you know it you don’t even need subtitles anymore. that’s how yours truly has been learning and perfecting my Korean all this time.

So, take it from me (and my good friend Nico) and give the program a try, if it happens not to be your kind of thing well there’s other programs out there and am hoping one is just right for you.

Below is episode 1 from season 1 and you can just continue on from there.

And do get back to me with your comments, feedback, questions etc, I’ll be more than happy to discuss/help.

Happy watching!

Heri ya mwaka mpya 2016!

Well it’s a bit weird saying this 4 months later but better late than never hey?!! My last post was on new years and the next one coming more than a year later is a bit concerning to be honest!

I’ve been away doing other things-language related. I still teach here and there but mostly I’ve been running my language services company, Fun-Lugha, that I started almost 2 years ago. I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing freelancers providing services to all sorts of clients, big and small.

But since it all started here, I figured it’s time i came back! Can’t promise I’ll be posting as regularly as I used to but post I will. If anyone has questions, topics they’d like covered, etc just hit me up and I’ll be sure to work on them.

funlughaswahili is back and this time I think its back for good!

Heri ya mwaka mpya, 2015!

Asalaam Aleikum!

Kama mjuavyo nyote mwaka wa 2014 ndo umekwishamalizika na tumeuanza mwaka mpya kabisa. Kwanza natumai sote tumefika na tumeuona. Pili natumai malengo yetu yote ya 2014 tuliyatimiza na tumekwishajipangia malengo makubwa zaidi kwa mwaka huu mpya. Mimi binafsi nilidhamiria kuanzisha tovuti yangu inayohusiana na mambo ya lugha hapa Tanzania na ninashukuru nilifanikiwa kwa hilo. Kilichobaki sasa ni kuhakikisha tovuti hii inafanikiwa.

Sijui nyinyi wenzangu mna mipango gani kwa ajili ya 2015, ila ninawatakia nyote mafanikio mema na inshallah sote tuweze kufika tena tarehe kama hii hii mwakani.

Mungu awabariki nyote, Mungu aibariki funlughaswahili.com!

Amin!

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 #93: World Cup must know vocabulary…

The world cup fever is well and truly on. So to help you enjoy the whole experience with locals as opposed to sitting at home cheering all by yourself (like me currently watching Holland vs Mexico), I’ve compiled a couple of words and phrases that you’d find useful.

  • Mpira – ball
  • Goli (magoli)  – goal/s
  • Mechi – match
  • Kipa – goal keeper
  • Mchezaji (wachezaji) – player/s
  • Mshambuliaji  – striker
  • Refa – referee
  • Shabiki (mashabiki) – fan/s
  • Shangilia – celebrate
  • Mpira unaanza saa ngapi?/ Mechi inaanza saa ngapi? – when does the match start?
  • Bado dakika ngapi? – how many more minutes left?
  • Mpira umeshaanza?/ Mechi imeshaanza? – has the match started?
  • Tumefunga!  – we’ve scored!
  • Tumeshinda  – we’ve won!
  • Dah! Tumefungwa bwana – – it’s a pity, we’ve been beaten man!
  • Tumeshinda kwa magoli xxx kwa xxx  – we’ve won by xxx to xxx goals
  • Bila –  nil
  • Moja, moja  – 1-1
  • Moja, bila – 1-0
  • Bila, bila –  0-0

So yeahs, no more excuses you’ve got about an hr and a half to go out there and cheer on whichever team you’ll be supporting. As for me am gonna enjoy Holland’s win but hope they are in no way responsible for taking out either Nigeria or Algeria in the future -#goteamafrika!

LESSON #92: Ati nini?!! (say what?!)

Just like English, Swahili has many variations. Of course there’s the ultimate standard Swahili, just like we have the Queen’s English and since I come from the birthplace of Swahili itself am gonna list a couple of things that have different names from the ones we know on my side of the border. We also have words that have different meanings depending on whether you are in the land of naomba or the land of hakuna matata.

Lets get cracking:

  • Grandmother/old woman, wife, tomato – yup, these are all related, just stay with me on this one. Starting with grandma, in Tanzania we call her bibi but in Kenya they call her nyanya. Here’s where it gets interesting though. If you go to Kenya and introduce your grandma as bibi you are sure to get funny looks because you just introduced her as your wife! Am not finished yet, if a Kenyan goes to TZ and introduces their grandma as nyanya then they’ll get even funnier looks as they just referred to the poor woman as a tomato! Confused? Ok let’s break it down, in TZ a grandma= bibi whilst a tomato= nyanya. In Kenya a grandma= nyanya whilst a tomato =…well still nyanya! So double meanings there. At the same time a wife= bibi  in Kenya whilst in TZ its= mke. Alright catch your breath then read on…

  • Electricity – not too complicated this one, just 2 different words. In TZ it’s umeme whilst in Kenya it’s stima.

  • Sweets/candy – in TZ it’s pipi whilst in Kenya particularly in the coastal area where their Swahili is pretty much on par with ours they call it peremende. Everywhere else most people just say sweet/s. Candy isn’t that common as British English is the standard around those parts.

  • Batteries – again not too complicated.  In TZ we swahilinize it and say betri whilst in Kenya they say makaaor sometimes mawe. Ok I’ll complicate that just a teeny weeny bit, i

    n TZ mawe means stones.

  • Skirt – very slight difference here, just a vowel’s worth. We both swahilinized this word so whilst in TZ we say sketi my cousins the Kenyans prefer skati.

  • Shirt – same idea as skirt,  so its sheti for TZ and shati for Kenya.

There’s plenty more of course which as always you can point out to me on the comments section and if you have any questions let me know as well. Tukutane punde!