"What is your name?"

Translation:Jina lako ni nani?

March 5, 2017



What's the difference between lake and lako?

March 5, 2017


-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.

March 6, 2017


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.

April 27, 2018


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.

July 2, 2019


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

July 3, 2019


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?

December 22, 2017


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

May 1, 2019


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.

July 5, 2019


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

March 31, 2017


you are not. indeed they say that.

August 24, 2017


Unaitwa (you are called) is also excepted

July 1, 2018


Its an informal way right?

May 1, 2019


That word order is a lot different than English

October 8, 2018


Doesn't nani mean what in Japanese too?

January 11, 2018


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.

April 26, 2018


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

December 3, 2018



January 13, 2018
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