1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swahili
  4. >
  5. "Emilian ni nani?"

"Emilian ni nani?"

Translation:Who is Emilian?

February 20, 2017

58 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/juryrigging

Poor Emilian. Put in so much work and the course doesn't know who he is...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DiegoJaviUnlam

Shoutout to Emilian mbassa!

He is one of the people who made this course. Go say thank you on his profile page or something. :)

I think he is now very acclaimed! And everyone can visit his profile. ;)

Nenda, Kiswahili, nenda! =)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

What is nenda, Kiswahili?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/clh335763

For anyone still reading this: Nenda means go while Kiswahili refers to the Swahili language itself So nenda, Kiswahili, nenda!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anhonime

"What" is 何 (nani) in Japanese. Coincidence? ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amanesse77

I'm pretty sure it's just a coincidence


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HoroTanuki

誰ですか?(dare desu ka) is "who is" in Japanese


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanOkushi

Yes, "nani/何" means "what."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IlIllIl

Interesting. Kumamoto is a Japanese city, but in Swahili "kuma moto" is something a gentleman doesn't call a lady. Also a coincidence ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wolfleis

I had to think of which in Chinese 哪/na

I also saw that ninyi in Chinese is 你们/nimen (and ni in Swedish)

Btw,your comment deserves more likes because weird similarities between distant languages are so interesting!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/the3lusive

Yes it is, you will find some Japanese words have bad meanings in Swahili. Here is another word for you; "domo" which means thanks in Japanese but means mouth in Swahili.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

"Domo" exists in many languages, like a lot of short and simple words.

In Indo-European languages, it means a house or the action of sleeping. Domo = house (esperanto), italian: conjugation of sleeping.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/domo


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kwant

"Dom" in Rusaian means house too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/trezapoioi1

Well.. in italian "(io) domo" is "I tame". You're confusing with "(io) doRmo", wich is "I sleep"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paunaac

And home in esperanto


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2194

"Domo" is "house" in Esperanto.
"Hejmo" is "home".

It's related to the English words "domicile" and "domestic".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheEeveeLord

Yeah, I was reminded of that too, but it's pretty much definitely a coincidence, given that Swahili and Japanese are not related.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Charlie905522

I have a linguistics textbook that literally lists it as a coincidence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/da_funky_munky

I saw that and i immediately exploded with: "OH I KNOW THIS WORD!!" But doesn't it mean (in this context) "Who?" as well as "What?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ngwarai

It cannot mean "what" especially in this context because we are talking about a person in which case we would use "who" and not "what".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/da_funky_munky

Ok, thank you very much :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AGreatUserName

It will occasionally be translated with "what" though. Jina lako ni nani? is "What is your name?" The reason behind this is not that names are seen as people but that nani is a question word that asks for a personal name.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ngarrang

I just started, and this will probably be answered later, but is this usual for the language where the word order is reversed for questions?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RaizinM

The word order is not reversed in Swahili but in English.

Where is Emilian?
Emilian is there
When is the meeting?
The meeting is then.

In English you reverse the order to move the question word to the start of the sentence. And I believe that in Swahili the word order in questions is generally the same as in normal sentences. So you would say:

Emilian is where?
Emilian is there
The meeting is when?
The meeting is then.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThePatrician

Hey, thanks! Word order for questions switches for a couple languages I'm trying to look into! Now this makes sense!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

It seems like it's mostly just European languages that do this. For example, I've seen a bit of Japanese, Chinese etc. and now Swahili and they don't reverse word order in questions. Although in some European languages you can in information circumstances (mostly French I'm thinking of, Tu fais quoi ?).
[2019/04/02]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AGreatUserName

It might be about 100 times more information than you're looking for, but I thought you might find this interesting ... the distribution of languages that move question words to the front and those that don't. It's very common in Europe and also quite common in Australia, North America and South America but much less common in Africa and Asia.

http://wals.info/feature/93A#2/25.5/151.0

Further clarification about it:

http://wals.info/chapter/93


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melaninja

Nani in Lingala (congolese language) is also who!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KxngDeo.

Yeah. I'm Congolese and I hope there will be a Lingala course here some time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ngwarai

Hi, maybe you can start driving for Lingala to be taught on Duolingo and you become the course contributor for that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jae_Grey

I would totally be one of the first students for that course!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eruedin

Hello, you have left a positive comment for lingala. If you support the proposal of a Lingala course (on the basis of the French language) https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22649727, you will have to click in favour of the proposal of Sion60 in the bottom left of his proposal on ^ near the number that mentions the number of supporters. If you have clicked, the number becomes green. For lingala (on tha basis of english), you have to click here https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17030005 (in the bottom left of Kxng.Deo's proposal). If you really like a lingala course, best would be to support both.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melaninja

I'm Congolese too :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cccg03

I'm not Congolese but I lived in Pointe-Noire/Brazzaville for 2 years and I speak Kikongo :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanOkushi

First example of a sentence in the reverse order from English, that I've seen in this course so far.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DiegoJaviUnlam

How would "Who is Doctor Who?" be translated? ;)

A possible answer in the link below:

https://translate.google.com/#auto/sw/Who%20is%20Doctor%20Who%3F


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/the3lusive

Technically that is correct but you would normally say "Doctor Who ni nani ?" or " Nani ni Doctor Who ?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DiegoJaviUnlam

I am not sure about the order in Swahili, but yes, perhaps the original name of Doctor Who is the normal here (also in Spanish, I prefer to say "¿Quién es el Doctor Who?" or just "¿Quién es Doctor Who? if I think this is about a character or perhaps an artist, but the pronunciation of "doctor" changes to the Spanish) ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanOkushi

I guess it probably would. Sounds kinda funny.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cp113406

Doctor Who is his name, it would probably be "Doctor Who ni nani?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ngwarai

Assuming you don't change someone's proper name, I would say "Nani Doctor Who? "

If, on the other hand you just want to translate every word, then I would say, "Nani Daktari Nani?"

Edit: maybe better to say

"Ni nani Doctor Who?", "Doctor Who ni mami? "

Or

"Ni nani Daktari Nani? ", "Daktari Nani ni nani?"

But do observe that the last versions are like saying in English "Doctor Who is who?" rather than saying "Who is Doctor Who?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DiegoJaviUnlam

I have also tried with other question:

Nani ni Simba?

And the result of this translation is:

Who is Simba?

Also, the page (Glosbe) gives other example:

Na ni nani awezaye kukosa kuwaona ndovu na simba?

And who could overlook the elephants and the lions?

From Glosbe: https://glosbe.com/sw/en/Nani%20ni%20Simba%3F

So, I can realize the position of "nani" can be different: the first position, after "ni" (Ni nani), and ending the sentence.

Still I cannot read well some information in Swahili, but I would really like to find and understand more Swahili texts.

Asante sana kwa kuleta msaada! =)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/steve271162

Literal Translation: Emilian is who? (which subsequently IS an acceptable way to ask who a person is in English.) Both translations should be accepted: Who is Emilian? Emilian is who?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OliverBens1

Report it so then it can be acceptable. That is what the beta is for.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nessihix

those 2 questions are not interchangeable. even though i wrote 'emilian is who', i agree that it should not be accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/steve271162

I have to disagree - those two questions are interchangeable. The latter (Emilian is who?) might be a little archaic English, but if you ask a Swahili speaker, whether from Kenya or Congo, they will tell you that both translations work. Thanks for the quick reply!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JaydenMwan

Why is who at the end of the swahilli version but the first word in english


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2194

Different languages, different grammar rules. English moves question words to the front, Swahili leaves them in place.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ngwarai

"Emilian ni nani?" literally means "Emilian is who?" in English, but, it is more natural to write that as "Who is Emilian?". I hope that helps.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/powertrout

Are questions emphasized differently at all? Like we would raise the pitch in "Who is Em(^)ilian?" in English. Does Swahili do anything similar in other contexts?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RussBennet1

Why is there no audio


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

There is now 2019/04/02, and it sounds pretty good!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ginaa124

My listening exercises never work in the Swahili course.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/turombi

Audio is working on this lesson! Thanks duolingiists!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1Reneee

Would this question be used to get more information about Emilian (like his job, or a family member that might be familiar to the speaker), or to ask which person in a group is Emilian? Or both?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/merzgzel

エミリア語の代わりに「彼」を使用するとどうなりますか? Emiria-go no kawarini `kare' o shiyō suruto dō narimasu ka? What if we use "she" instead of Emilian?

Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.