"Simu zinapatikana"

Translation:The phones are available

April 12, 2017

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"Zinapatikana" Can anyone break down this word into parts? I don't understand.


Let's see. Well, 'zi' is the subject particle (plural 3rd person noun from n-n class), 'na' is the time particle (present tense) and 'patikana' is a verb (to be found or to be available). Kupatikana is kinda interesting because it shows that verbs in Swahili verb can have compound forms. Kupata means to get. Then you add in the "-ik" to make the verb become stative and the '-na' at the end makes it reciprocal as well. Therefore, you move from kupata (to get) to kupatikana (to be available).


Why does it have to have a reciprocal affix? Wouldn't "Simu zinapatika" (without "-na") mean Phones are available?

I saw another example of an unexpected reciprocal being added to a word in the stative verbs unit: inawezekana (it is possible). Is this a common form in Swahili? What function does it serve?


I am a native speaker in the Tanzania mainland. Zinapatika is commonly used in some part(s) in Zanzibar( I heard it in Rural Unguja). Not sure about Inawezeka though, seems way too weird. But I advice you always should use the whole word, finish up to the 'na'. That is the way used by majority of swahili speakers.


Thanks very much, mikidadial! Whatever native speakers actually say has to be the correct answer :)


That's a lot! Thank you!


Na at the end isn't it to enter the meaning "each other"??


I agree. Why is the reciprocal form used here?


There are simply a few verbs that use -(l)ikana or -(l)ekana to form the "stative". There are some scholarly papers about it, but basically it's easiest to just remember them as you come across them. Off the top of my head, here are some common ones.

-patikana = to be available
-onekana = to be visible, to seem
-wezekana = to be possible
-semekana = to be said (e.g. "It is said that ...")
-julikana = to be known

Many of these may also have forms without the reciprocal -ana (although these are not accepted in all dialects) and often, when both are allowed and have different meanings, the form with the reciprocal marking often indicates something like "widely" (i.e. among the populace in general).


My "the phone is available" was not accepted. Is that right?


Yes. The 'zi' tells you it must be plural


No, because " zi- " subject particle shows that it is plural form - phones.


Tafadhali, looking for tips on how to use the reciprocal suffix "na". Is it optional? Asante.


I hope this explanation will suffice. If the verb kupenda means to love, then the verb kupendana means to love (one another). Notice that the verbs meaning barely changes and that seems to be true for most verbs. Some verbs meaning can change like kulala, meaning to sleep, to kulalana which means either to sleep with each other or to have sex. Reciprocal verbs can be used in the singular tense, but they make more sense in the plural tense. Hope the examples aren't too crude...

Wanapendana -- They love each other. Tukiongeana tungekuelewana -- If we talked to each other, we would understand each other. Kama tunapendana, basi tunaweza kunalalana. -- If we love each other, then we can sleep with each other.

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