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  5. "Msipoimba hamtakula"

"Msipoimba hamtakula"

Translation:If you don't sing, you will not eat

March 18, 2017



Why must -po- be translated "if" instead of "when" here?


It is not -po-, but the -si- of which makes it be an "If" statement (negative). Additionally, if it is -ki- then it becomes an "If" statement (positive).


  1. Nikiimba, nitatunzwa (If I sing, I'll be rewarded)

  2. Nisipoimba, sitatunzwa (If I don't sing, I won't be rewarded)

  3. Tukikubali, tutafanikiwa (If we accept, we will succeed)

  4. Tusipokubali, hatutafanikiwa (If we don't accept, we won't succeed)


-sipo- is actually the full prefix, and means "if not". Both -si- and -po- are needed in combination to make it a negative conditional.


"Kuimba kwa chakula cha jioni yako."


Why is this sentence in the relative clauses skill?


My understanding is that -po- is different from the conditional -ki-, but -po- is also used as the negative conditional. If or when in English communicate basically the same idea in this case.

Msipoimba hamtakula (If/When you don't sing, you will not eat.)

-po- in the positive past/present/future is usually translated to when.

Mlipoimba nilicheza (When you sang, I danced) Mnapoimba ninacheza (When you sing, I dance) Mtakapoimba nitacheza (When you sing, I will dance) - for the future, -ka- is always put between -ta- and -po-, I'm not sure why but that's what my Swahili teacher taught me and how I always heard it used.


Thanks for your clear explanation!


Tough parents...


Have they explained "-po-"? I didn't see it in the lesson tips on relative constructions. Maybe this sentence is in the wrong lesson?

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