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  5. "What is your name?"

"What is your name?"

Translation:Jina lako ni nani?

March 5, 2017



What's the difference between lake and lako?


-ako is your/yours -ake is his/her/its

The l- is there because Jina is in the JI of the JI/MA class (Class 5/6) and l- is what you add to anything that needs agreement in the singular form.


Very correct, excellent linguistic explanation John00625. I also think Swahili learners want to know the different meaning about what and who.

Normally, what means nini, for example what is this? = Hii ni nini?

But in the sentence above where what is used to ask about someone's name it is normally translated as nani just like asking who are you? Wewe ni nani? Tell us your name and possibly who you are because your name may finally tell us who you are in terms of culture or civilization or background. Never say Jina lako ni nini? Do not translate literally.


Thanks for answering peoples questions and providing information GeorgeMwid! Duolingo should hire you to help better this swahili course smh i was so excited to learn an african language.


Thank you for appreciation. It is my pleasure too to work with them.


I've learned my Swahili from Kenya but "Unaitwa nani?" is also common. However, it is translated as "You are called who" and not "What is your name." Wondering if it should also be accepted?

[deactivated user]

    Yes!!! I know "unaitwa nani" and i was wondering if i will be learning it in the future or maybe its just an informal way so i wont be learning that phrase at all


    I'm very new to Swahili but it seems while they call for the same answer their literal meaning differs.

    "Jina lako ni nani?" = "What is your name"

    "Unaitwa nani?" = "What are you called?"

    Essentially, they both want to know your name.


    Learning languages in diiferent countries will result to different translations, however the meaning may actually be the same.


    In reality do people in Tanzania say "Jina lako nani?" Or have I been mishearing?


    you are not. indeed they say that.


    How do you know, based on your badges it doesn't look like you've studied Swahili. Why wouldn't they say "ni"? It seems weird that someone would say "Your name what" instead of "your name is what."


    Jina lako ni nani is correct and you may also shorten to Jina lako nani in Swahili and still correct


    There is variation. Not all languages use a copula and not all languages that use copulas use them all the time.


    In Hebrew, the verb "to be" is very often left out.


    Unaitwa (you are called) is also excepted


    Accepted (not excepted). Hope you don't mind my correcting you. Feel free to correct my Swahili!

    [deactivated user]

      Its an informal way right?


      That word order is a lot different than English


      Nani ni jina lako? Is also correct yes?


      Doesn't nani mean what in Japanese too?


      Yes, but not "too", because it doesn't mean "what" in Swahili. It means "who". It translates to "what" in this sentence, but it can only be used to ask about a person or their name, not to an inanimate object.


      So loosely this sentence asks "Who are you called" ?


      I am getting confused. Is it just me or am I seeing more than one word for "Name"? If so, what is the rule? Thank you.


      Am a total beginner here but, from the comments, I think that “jina” is “name” (noun) and “unaitwa” is “to be called” (verb).


      Dzina lako ndi ndani? (in Chichewa [when talking to your peer or a person younger than you.])

      Dzina lanu ndi ndani? (in Chichewa [as a respectful way to elders or strangers])


      "Je, jina lako ni nani?" is absolutely the correct way to ask a stranger's name. So why did I get this wrong?


      what's the difference in nani,gani and nini? is one of them plural?.


      nani? = who? whom?
      ~a nani? = whose?
      gani? = which? what kind of?
      nini? = what?
      kwa nini = why

      As far as I know nani, gani and nini can be applied unchanged for singular as well as for plural.


      Is the answer supposed to be " Jina lako ni nini" because by using the word "nani" is making "what" to be a noun which is very incorrect. Anyone think the same way?


      It's not about correct/incorrect, it's about to understand/transfer and to be understood. In Kiswahili we have to ask "Jina lako ni NANI?" (literally: name your is WHO?) which translates into "What is your name?". (11-Aug-2020)


      Nani ni lako jina?


      Nani ni lako jina is a literal translation and in Swahili a noun comes/starts first in interrogative and affirmative sentences as follows:

      Jina lako ni nani?

      Which car do you drive? literally > Lipi gari waendesha? Then write: Gari lipi waendesha?

      You may also write: Waendesha gari lipi?

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