"Samaki wetu"

Translation:Our fish

March 3, 2017

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Interesting occurrence: samaki - fish(es) is as a foreign word deriving from Arabic part of the n/n class. It should therefore use yetu and zetu but it doesn't. It behaves instead as a m/wa noun.


Yeah, because it's animate. Animate nouns in other classes get treated as class 1/2 (m-wa)... except that I thought the possessives/associative of class 9/10 was the exception (keeping y/z with animates in order to mark singular/plural) so I'm not sure why it's not with y or z here but for a slightly different reason than you're not sure.


Samaki wetu is correct and is singular only. The plural 'our fish(es)' translates as Samaki zetu

From Wilson's 'Simplified Swahili':

[/quote] "...all nouns denoting living beings regardless of class, should be given M- WA- agreements. BUT, there is one exception to this 'rule' and that is with the Personal Possessives only. Within this exception, however, we have to differentiate between humans and animals. 'Humans' which occur in the N class take N class agreement in both the singular and the plural. Animals which occur in the N class (and most do), take M- WA- agreements in the singular, but N class in the plural. [/endquote]

He gives the following examples:

Rafiki yangu amefika, My friend has arrived.

Rafiki zangu wamefika, My friends have arrived.

Mbwa wangu mmoja amefika. My one dog has arrived.

Mbwa zangu mbili wamefika. My two dogs have arrived


Thanks. I believe you are right here. I came across a different example where also the animate = m/wa class occurred - though it affected ONLY the adj/adv NOT the pronoun.

Dada yangu ni mrefu.

  • Dada (N/N animate) yangu (pronoun according to N/N) mrefu (Adj/adv - according to M/Wa)....


That should be the right way - I am afraid this is a mistake; while animate objects go with the m-/wa- class; possessives are formed with the N/N class! :)


I reported this error today (18 June 2018).
Should be yetu (sg) or zetu (pl).


In English, the plural of fish is fish. so it's just the same :-).

You would only use the english word 'fishes' when you are speaking about different species of fish.


The way I remember that Samaki means fish is because it is similar to Salmon, another kind of fish. Hopefully this trick helps you too


how can I learn whether it is plural or not?

We could own a single fish, or many fishes.... no clear distinction is made in swahili.....


In English, you can say 'many fish', for fish is a collective noun also.

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