"Baba ni mtanzania"

Translation:Father is Tanzanian

February 21, 2017



Does 'baba' means father of dad or both?

February 24, 2017


Both, Dad and Father are just different ways to say the same thing.

February 26, 2017


In English there is a difference in register between dad and father. This distinction also exists in French, German, Russian, Polish, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

The question is whether there is any such distinction in Swahili.

March 25, 2017


"Baba" is both formal and informal; our language teacher at university therefore insists we translate "baba" "father and "mama" "mother". :)

May 18, 2018


I put "Father is from Tanzania"

February 21, 2017


"Father is from Tanzania" would be "Baba anatoka Tanzania"... yes, the meaning is similar but there is a distinct difference in the translation.

February 22, 2017


I put " My dad is Tanzanian "

May 14, 2017


Wouldn't that be "Baba yangu ni mtanzania"? Swahili has pronouns similar to English's so that would be a different sentence.

June 30, 2017


Languages deal with possessive modifiers for family members very differently. Some languages use them much less than English, so word-for-word equivalences aren't inherently informative. Are you familiar with the situation in Swahili specifically? I share Miah803875's query as to whether "My dad..." might actually be closer to the default interpretation of this Swahili sentence.

January 10, 2018


Well, usually when you say "Dad is..." even in English the "my" is implied; since it is rather uncommon to refer to other people's fathers as "dad" or even "father" - I would say though that for Swahili "Baba ni mtanzania." should be "Father is Tanzanian." without "my" as that might stress biological father - Baba also is used for uncles and other elder men and not always specified (my uncle - my father's younger brother is "baba mdogo" to me - so my "small father")

January 31, 2018


Sure, "dad is..." means "my dad...," but to me this substitution isn't terribly natural outside extremely limited contexts, mostly talking to other family members. I wouldn't generally use it even when talking to close friends, and my friends don't seem to, either.

The simple fact they've included so many sentences with family members as subjects but without possessive modifiers makes me think the situation is different in Swahili. Of course, they could have just made a not-that-great pedagogical choice to teach lots of sentences that one would assume are natural and can be used in general, but actually are only really natural when speaking with one's Swahili-speaking family members, of which learners may often have none.

In English, "Father is Tanzanian" means only one of two things, as far as I'm aware: "my father is Tanzanian" or "the priest (and my interlocutor knows from context which priest I'm talking about) is Tanzanian." And "Dad is Tanzanian," or course, applies only to one's own biological father, so adding "my" doesn't add any stress.

To the extent "baba" is used for other men not one's father (barring priests), then "father" itself doesn't work as a translation, that is unless "father" itself is used in such instances in Tanzanian English. In Ghanaian English, it is common to use "uncle" in this way, a form much more familiar for not-actual-relatives to native English speakers in Western countries (but still not nearly as widely used as in Ghana).

January 31, 2018


English: Father/Dad Turkish: Baba Swahili: Baba

May 21, 2018


What about "Father is a Tanzanian" - This translations was flagged as incorrect.

March 2, 2017


Not nearly a native speaker, but that seems correct. It doesn't seem like there's any distinction in Swahili.

June 30, 2017


Report it. :) It is both correct - there are no articles (though different ways of defining something concretely.)

January 31, 2018


"Dad's Tanzanian". Didn't accept it

April 4, 2017


Making "Dad is" become "Dad's" is quite informal in American english and is accetpable to say, however we are translating from Swahili and it makes the most sense to translate more directly into the closest equivalent. English-ifying it even more might be too far from the original meaning. The structure is much more like "Dad is" than "Dad's"

April 9, 2017


That only makes sense if there's a parallel, commonly used way to make this sentence a less formal register in Swahili. Unless you're offering one, the difference does not matter at all.

June 30, 2017


I am not sure if it accepts "Dad is Tanzanian." - my language teacher requires us to translate baba as Father and mama as Mother - I guess it's a personal quirk, but you could ask the Swahili mother tongue speakers making this course.

January 31, 2018


Well, the translations shown above (hover hints) for "baba" are "dad," "papa," and "daddy," so it would certainly appear that the course creators do not share the same quirk :)

January 31, 2018


Isnt my father is tanzanian acceptable?

June 10, 2017


see discussion above

January 31, 2018


It's not dealing with contractions well. I've been saying "Mom's Kenyan" or "Dad's Tanzanian" and it's telling me I missed a space. As far as I know, there's no parallel in Swahili to the English contraction, so both these sentences should not be flagged for typos.

June 30, 2017


The contractions in Swahili are in other places. "Mamangu ni mkenya." (shortage of "Mama yangu ni mkenya.")

January 31, 2018



September 23, 2017


How is "Dad's Tanzanian" incorrect?

September 5, 2018


Baba is also father in Zulu. Although we would say "uBaba".

January 18, 2019
Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.