Not a very temporary word... :/ If you are going to learn only 1300 words of swahili I don´t think spear should be one of them. Unless you want to study east african history...
I think you mean "contemporary." I can't imagine that I am the only one here who is unlikely ever to use Swahili for anything other than reading. I might read history, literature, art history, or folklore and find more use for this word than any number of more contemporary words.
Yes, you are right, I meant CONtemporary. I understand your viewpoint. Perhaps I am a bit sensitive to spreading the worn cliché that "africans" use spears and play drums. In east africa spears aren't really that much more used than swords are in, let's say Sweden. With some exceptions, like the maasai, of course.
I can absolutely understand your sensitivity. Indiscriminate use of words like "tribe" and "ancient" drives me to distraction. Perhaps because I am a history teacher, I think of "spear" in that context, and they do seem to be used symbolically much the way swords are in Europe. For me, it is the early introduction of words like bucket and well, and actions like lighting a stove that might give a wrong impression of unchangeable, primitive poverty that makes me a bit uneasy, though I can certainly understand their utility in daily life.
Yes, I think we are on the same page here... Maybe you (and others) will appreciate a satirical text about western stereotypes on Africa by a brilliant kenyan author, Binyavanga Wainaina. It was published in a magazine called Granta and later became a book. Read the text here: https://granta.com/how-to-write-about-africa/
Adorable. Primordial is a word I would be perfectly happy never to hear again, though I think I would add "indigenous" to Mr Wainaina's list.
not many, sorry. like said above - masai may use it for hunting (though those rights have been restricted a lot), they carry them more as a symbol of status; apart from the masai I have only seen spears on walls as (historical) decoration... The panga (machete) definitely is used more commonly, widely, often.... I wonder why we haven't learned that yet. I agree with the flag - the spear is more of a symbol than a "current hand weapon".
Ignoring the heated issue of the choice of mkuki as the noun, it would be much more consistent for this exercise to give "He doesn't have spears" as the English translation. Especially since you really can't say "He has no spears" in Swahili, without first mentally converting to "He doesn't have spears"...
Since those two constructions are equivalent in English, most language courses try to get the student to understand that sentences like "He does not have spears" and "He has no spears" would be translated by the single sentence "Hana mikuki" in Swahili. The same thing can be said for sentences like "I go," "I am going," and "I do go" in languages that do not have a progressive construction.
I would go at it from another side. "Hana mikuki." in Swahili is equivalent to both "He doesn't have spears." AND "He has no spears." without distinguishing as English does. Otherwise "Hana mikuki yoyote." (He has no spears at all.) would have to be translated as "He doesn't have any spears at all." which again sounds complicated in English to my ears.