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  5. "Mna maji ndani ya chupa"

"Mna maji ndani ya chupa"

Translation:There is water in a bottle

April 8, 2017



For less emphasis, is it also possible to say Mna maji chupani?


It is possible to use either - but I am not sure about the emphasis point. (ndani ya just stressed the use of the m(u)- class.)


Mna means you have, right???


M- is the subject prefix of both the second person plural and also the locative class 18 for internal location. It could mean "you" have, but in this context, it means "there is ... in"


I am lost.. I read in the tips it is mle...or not?. Please, give me some further explanation why it is mna.



So, to backtrack a long way, there are demonstrative words, the words for "this", "these", "that", "those" etc. Here are the words in various noun classes.

(In case you're not familiar with the numbers for noun classes, M-WA = 1/2)

huyu = this (person or animal) (class 1, close)
hawa = these (people or animals) (class 2, close)
yule = that (person or animal) (class 1, distant)
wale = those (people or animals) (class 2, distant)

(M-MI = 3/4)

huu = this (class 3, close)
hii = these (class 4, close)
ule = that (class 3, distant)
ile = those (class 4, distant)

(JI-MA = 5/6)

hili = this (class 5, close)
haya = these (class 6, close)
lile = that (class 5, distant)
yale = those (class 6, distant)

(KI-VI = 7/8)

hiki = this (class 5, close)
hivi = these (class 6, close) (also means "like this", "so")
kile = that (class 5, distant)
vile = those (class 6, distant) (also means "like that", "so")

(N-N = 9/10)

hii = this (class 9, close)
hizi = these (class 10, close)
ile = that (class 9, distant)
zile = those (class 10, distant)

(U = class 11 or 14)

huu = this (class 11 or 14, close)
ule = that (class 11 or 14, distant)

The demonstrative words in the locative classes, 16, 17 and 18, are more or less equivalent to adverbs for "here" and "there".

hapa = here (exact) (class 16, close)
pale = there (exact) (class 16, distant)

huku = around here (class 17, close)
kule = around there (class 17, distant ... rarely used?)

humu = in here (class 18)
mle = in there (class 18)

Now, a completely different usage of these prefixes is to put them with the preposition na (in present tense, or the verb kuwa na in other tenses) meaning "have"

nina = I have (class 1, 1st person singular)
una = you have (class 1, 2rd person singular)
ana = s/he has (class 1, 3rd person singular)
tuna = we have (class 2, 1st person plural)
mna = you have (class 2, 2rd person plural)
wana = they have (class 2, 3rd person plural)

una = it has (class 3)
ina = they have (class 4)

lina = it has (class 5)
yana = they have (class 6)

kina = it has (class 7)
vina = they have (class 8)

ina = it has (class 9)
zina = they have (class 10)

una = it has (class 11 or 14)

Doing the same with the locative classes gives us words that indicate the existence and location of something (essentially "a certain place has ...")

pana = a specific place has = there is/are ... here/there (class 16)
kuna = a non-specific place has = there is/are ... (class 17)
mna = an internal place has = there is/are ... inside (class 18)

So, mle means "in there" and mna means "there is/are ... (in ...)". Examples:

Mna buibui katika buti langu / kwenye buti langu / ndani ya buti langu. = There's a spider in my boot.
Mna buibui mle. = There's a spider in there.

Mna watu wawili shimoni. = There are two people in the hole.
Mna watu wawili mle. = There are two people in there.
Mna watu wawili humu. = There are two people in here.

It's also important not to confuse these with the suffixes -po, -ko and -mo which also indicate location in the classes 16, 17 and 18 respectively. These are used in the present tense with the class prefix of the subject (except with a- turned into yu-) and in other tenses they can be added to kuwa (changing the final "a" into an "e" for some people). Examples:

Buibui yumo mle. = The spider is in there.

Watu wamo shimoni. = The people are in the hole.
Watu wamo mle. = The people are in there.

Nipo hapa. = I am here. (Very common is with "niko" but some say this is technically incorrect because it's mixing and matching class 16 and 17 ... but it's very, very common)
Nimo humu. = I am in here.


Thank you again for the excellent explanation!! So, is my logic right: we build the demonstratives in following way- For close demonstratives we have the subject prefix and prefixes hi/u/a. For distant demonstratives we have LE (does it means something here?) and subject prefixes are used as prefixes.


Yes, that's basically it.

The close ("proximate") ones are


(where V is a vowel that's identical to the one in the subject prefix)

The distant ("distal") ones are:


When you look at a big table of Swahili grammar, it looks like there's a lot to learn, but things get repeated all over the place and for each noun class, you basically only have to remember the noun prefix and the subject prefix.


Thank you ... I guess it will take me some time before I can use this all properly.


Super helpful, asante! Ninajibu so that I can revisit this post baadaye.


My thoughts exactly. It's like an encyclopaedia of grammar that I was looking for!


Why not kuna maji ndani ya chupa, instead of mna maji? Hakuna mathata not hamna mathata.


I'm not sure, but I think you can also use "kuna" here because the ndani makes it clear that we're talking about inside.

Anyway, it's funny you mention hakuna matata (NOT "mathata"!) because actually, in a lot of areas, it's more common to say Hamna shida. (I'm not exactly sure what the problems are supposed to be inside, but idioms don't always make sense.)

Anyway, what these three words basically mean is:

pana = "there is ... there/here" (exact location, class 16)
kuna = "there is ... " (non-exact location, class 17)
mna = "there is ... inside" (internal location, class 18)


You would use mna without ndani; but kuna + ndani should be correct - I've heard. "Hamna shida." is referring to a place - that can be like a bottle, house, bag etc., but in a few cases (countries/lakes/North of etc.), mostly set expressions it is used in a larger sense. So something along the lines of "There are no problems within my/this area."


I think that - Mna maji chupani - is more natural. By the way, the contekst 1) you have a water into the bottle 2) there is water into the bottle - both fit. And " mna maji ndani ya chupa " longer version provotes for use the first option.


Thank you for all the help.


I think it should be there is water in the bottle instead of there is water in a bottle


Why is my answer "There is water inside of the bottle" incorrect?

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