1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swahili
  4. >
  5. "Tuna masikio mawili"

"Tuna masikio mawili"

Translation:We have two ears

April 3, 2017

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeslieWedd

Since "we" indicates at least two persons, does this sentence mean one ear each person or one person with two ears and the other with none?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Renata725212

Duolingo didn't write about it but I read that animals ( which should follow grammaticaly M-WA class ) in plural forms follow the class which they belonge to. It would explane - simba mwili. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AGreatUserName

Simba mmoja
Simba wawili
Simba watatu ...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/finndj

I thought mbili was two?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AGreatUserName

The forms used in counting are essentially the N-class forms. The N- before a W becomes mb-. The actual root of "two" is "-wili".

Watu wawili two people
Miti miwili two trees
Maembe mawili two mangoes
Vitu viwili two things
Simba wawili two lions (animate!)
Nyuso mbili two faces


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/juryrigging

Simba mbili? Although it's N/N, doesn't simba follow M/Wa grammar rules because it is animate?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AGreatUserName

Oh yes, oops, sorry! I'll edit it to not mislead anyone who comes later.

(The N class animate nouns seem to use the N class possessives though, ya, za, yangu etc. and my theory is that it's because the nouns don't show number and the M-WA possessive forms don't either (all starting with w) so it's like a way of maximising the chance that you'll know if it's singular or plural.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gazelle1596

yes, any animate (living beings) are using the concordancce of m-/wa-; pretty much only case in which "things fall out of their class"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John M.

Correct, but numbers change with noun class in Kiswahili. When you're counting you'd say "moja, mbili, tatu..."

Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.