1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swahili
  4. >
  5. "Ninahitaji karatasi"

"Ninahitaji karatasi"

Translation:I need paper

March 1, 2017


Sorted by top thread


Etymology (karatasi)

Borrowing from Arabic قِرْطَاس ‎(qirṭās).


karatasi (n class, plural karatasi)

1) paper (material for writing on)

From Wiktionary:



March 1, 2017


Just use the wet whipes.

April 22, 2017


hahaha yes we are out of TP. XD

March 29, 2019


I have also often heard this being used for "notebook(s)"

March 14, 2017


How high is the percentage of finding a foreign language not related to yours having so many cognates from the same source? I tell you, Not. That. Much! Oh, and also, is paper the word's only meaning or does it have another associated with it?

August 15, 2017


Swahili has a lot of loan words from Arabic. Although it is not a Semitic language, but a Bantu language, a totally different language family, not even related to the Semitic languages as far as linguistical studies have shown, it has had a very extensive area of contact during the 1500 and onward with Arabic. It was used as a trade language, and has borrowed many words from the different peoples that the Bantus of the coastal region of Africa would trade with. Many locals would say that it is a mixed language, but the grammar is distinctly Bantu, although quite simplified compared to other Bantu languages. The influence is seen mainly through borrowed words. A bit similar to all the borrowings of Latin and French words that you find in English.

January 10, 2018


Could it also be: I need a paper? Where does it imply this should be plural?

April 19, 2018


Yes, it could. Nouns in the N- class don't in general have a plural. I think there are some exceptions. If you want to specify whether you need just one or several pieces of paper you do that by changing the verb. Besides conjugating for the subject, the verb can also take an object concord marker. For this case you could write "Ninaihitaji karatasi" for the singular and "Ninazihitaji karatasi" for the plural.

Besides, if you want to specify that you need exactly one piece of paper, instead of just some unspecified amount of paper, I would probably say "Ninahitaji karatasi moja", for "I need one paper", instead of just "Ninahitaji karatasi".

April 19, 2018


Ninahitaji is Always 'I need'.

Tunahitaji is 'We need'

Ni - I Tu - We

April 19, 2018


Well yes, it's obvious the subject is singular. I was talking about the paper: "a paper" versus "paper" or "papers"

April 19, 2018


(Grin embarrassingly)


But, back to the question. I think you can translate karatasi as both 'paper' and 'papers'.

Karatasi is in the n-class.

So, yeah. You can use 'I need papers'.

Here: https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Swahili_noun_classes#N_class

April 19, 2018
Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.