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  5. "Vitabu ni ghali"

"Vitabu ni ghali"

Translation:Books are expensive

February 27, 2017



Sometimes "the" is refused, sometimes it's needed, sometimes you can do either. This is very frustrating.


This word comes from the arabic غالي /ghali/ which means expensive. There are two common ways to pronounce it in Swahilli. Swahilli communities more influenced by arab traders and presence (like those in the major port cities) adopted with time the arab sound غ /gh/ coming deep from the mouth and pronounce the word this way, while others did not and they pronounce it more like /gali/.


The truest thing Duolingo has ever told me


"Ghali sana" is very useful when you are trying to bargain at shops ;)


Why not vitabu vyi ghali?


In Swahili there is one and only one way of conjugating the verb "to be" and that is ni.

  • Mimi ni
  • Wewe ni
  • Yeye ni
  • sing. object ni
  • Sisi ni
  • Ninyi ni
  • Wao ni
  • plur. object ni

With regular Swahili verbs the noun class prefix attaches on to the beginning, but with the verb "to be" it doesn't. One of the few irregulars in the Swahili language.


Is there any reason, within the range of swahili, that you call 'ni' a verb? Isn't it a particle that acts as a copula?


I believe that it is a copula and a verb (a copular verb), as many copulas are.

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