"Flowers smell nice"
The "ya" is referring to the flowers. I was never formally schooled in Kiswahili because I grew up in the US but my parents spoke it around the house. I learned this "ya" to be a possessive of sorts because the flowers "own" the nice smell, even though it isn't a possessive in the same sense that one would think of in English.
The word 'maua' is a class 6 noun. Like jina/majina are in class 5/6. The prefix for class 6 nouns is 'ya' and for class 5, 'li'. So to say the flower/flowers are nice is 'ua limependeza' and 'maua yamependeza'.
Oh, will I ever figure out all these noun classes and prefixes?
Haha of course! it took me a while but they're easy to remember if you have a key/easy example for each claass
Do you know how many noun classes there are? And would you share what key/easy examples you use for each class?
Hope this helps... :)
- Mtu (mtu huyu ni mzuri – this person is good/nice)
- Watu (watu hawa ni wazuri – these people are good)
- Mti (Mti huu ni mzuri – this tree is nice)
- Miti (Miti hii ni mizuri – these trees are nice)
- Jina (Jina hili ni zuri – this name is nice)
- Majina (Majina haya ni mazuri – these names are nice)
- Kiti (Kiti hiki ni kizuri – this chair is good)
- Viti (Viti hivi ni vizuri – these chairs are good)
- Ndizi (ndizi hii ni nzuri – this banana is nice)
- Ndizi (ndizi hizi ni nzuri – these bananas are nice)
- Ufunguo (Ufunguo huu ni mzuri – this key is good)
- Funguo (funguo hizi ni nzuri – these keys are good)
- Nyimbo (nyimbo hizi ni nzuri- these songs are good)
- Uzuri (uzuri huu ni mzuri – this beauty is good)
- Ku (Infinitive verbs (Kusoma huku ni kuzuri – this reading is good)
- Mahali noun class 1 – definite location (Mahali hapa ni pazuri – this place is nice)
- Mahali noun class 2 – indefinite location (Nyumbani kwangu – at my home)
- Mahali noun class 3 – location, inside (chumbani mwangu – in my room)
Thank you so much for going to all this trouble, Nsikan9. I must admit I find Swahili an intimidating language to figure out, but I will keep plugging on and expect it will stick eventually. By doing a web search for "How many noun classes are there in Swahili" I did find some helpful links. Again, my thanks to you.