Translation:The phones are available
"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 :)
No, because " zi- " subject particle shows that it is plural form - phones.