"Kaa kati ya Esther na Emilian"

Translation:Sit between Esther and Emilian

March 18, 2017

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why is there ya here?


All the positional prepositions in Swahili include "ya:" juu ya (on top of), ndani ya (inside of), mbele ya (in front of), etc. Notice that English also uses "of" in many of these phrases, and in fact an alternate translation of "kati ya" is "in the middle of."

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I think all of the Swahili prepositions are actually just NOUN + -a (and they're almost all class IX, so it's ya). Kati is a (N-/N-) noun meaning "middle". To me it seems kind of similar to the postpositions in Turkish, which pretty much all seem to actually be nouns in the locative case (they cause the "object" of the preposition to be genitive, and themselves have the possessed suffix).


Yeah, except in Turkish, the locative noun itself has to be marked as a locative too, which in Swahili would be like "katini", "in the middle" rather than just "Sit middle of X and Y" ... and then there's the double suffixes on possessor and possessum, just so there's no doubt in anyone's mind what relates to what, lol.

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