"The first and the last"
Translation:Ya kwanza na ya mwisho
Because the English words has determiners "the" then you would have to use the equivalent to Swahili. So 'ya',' za', 'wa'
There's no reason it's "ya" and not "za" or "wa" is there? Would it have taken others? Is "ya" some kind of default?
This screams for a Bible quote.
Jesus says in Rev 1:17 "Usiogope! Mimi ni wa kwanza na wa mwisho"
(Don't be afraid, I am the first and the last.)
and in Rev. 22:13
Mimi ni Alfa na Omega, Mwanzo na Mwisho, wa kwanza na wa mwisho
(I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.)
interesting that in both cases 'wa' is used.
Let's add some random quotes from the net
'Wewe mke wangu wa kwanza na mwisho”
(You are my first and last wife.) Here of course the wa is because of mke - like the m/wa class
kutoka sura ya kwanza mpaka sura ya mwisho ya Katiba
(from the first chapter until the last chapter of the Constitution) - here again 'sura' (n class sg) needs the 'ya'
Je, Maana Halisi ya Majina yako ya kwanza na ya mwisho ni gani?
(What is the real meaning of your first and last names?) majina (Ji/Ma plural> ya)
kuanzia hatua ya kwanza hadi ya mwisho
(from the first step to the last) hatua n - class sg>ya)
Magazeti ya Tanzania leo March 29 2015, page ya kwanza na ya mwisho.
(Tanzania newspapers today March 29 2015, the first and last page.) page (n class sg>ya)
What exaclty are those determiners? Because I was told quite emphatically that Swahili has no articles, and these determiners sure sound like they are articles...
Some determiners are articles (the, a), but there are lots of other determiners (e.g. my, this, that, any, either).
Here's a good explanation for English: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/determiners-the-my-some-this
Because Swahili has no articles, it uses the associative "-a" as the determiner here, as I understand it.
I believe they are saying that Swahili uses "ya" (etc.) in the way that we would use "the" in this situation. Not that it translates literally that way. Hence the "here" in the previous comment.
Check out the comments that have been made since then. The "ya" apparently does require some equivalent (I'm guessing because "kwanza" and "mwisho" are adjectives? But I could be wrong on that part.)
Is the "ya" here at all comparable to the French "des" (only for singular)?