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"If they come, we will buy presents"

Translation:Ikiwa watakuja tutanunua zawadi

June 11, 2017



if they will come, we will by the gift.


But in English we say 'if they come' and the future is implied.


Looks like they have fixed this. 1 April 2018


Also spanish yep


Why isn't it enough to just say "wakija"? Why do we need Ikiwa?


'Wakija' translates to 'when they come'. 'Ikiwa' makes it conditional


Is there any way this could get clarified in the lesson notes? Right now they say that "Conditional sentences in Kiswahili can also be formed by including the tense particle -ki- between the subject prefix and the verb."

Am I missing the point, or does that make it seem like Ikiwa/kama/ijapo and -ki- are interchangeable?


ah, let me amend my statement. '-ki-' can sometimes be ambiguous in meaning for not-so-distant future conditional tense. 'Wakija' can either mean 'If they come' or 'When they come'. There are ways to make the distinction between the two:

  • If they come = Iwapo/Ikiwa/Kama watakuja (always future tense)
  • When they come = Watakapokuja

I've added this to the notes!


That makes sense! Thanks for clearing that up


Thanks, machieng! Could you also explain the "-kapo-" in your example "Watakapokuja"?

The notes only mention the tense particle -ki- (apart from the separate words kama, ikiwa and ijapo).


this will be covered in a lesson on its own, but in essence it's used when referring to an event/action that happened, happens or will happen, that was a prequel to a 2nd event (when (action 1), then (action 2)); it is usually in the dependent clause of the sentence

  • Past: Tulipofika, walitupokea - When we arrived, they received/welcomed us
  • Habitual: Wimbo wa taifa unapochezwa, watu husimama - When the national anthem is played, people stand
  • Future: Atakapojifungua, tutamtembelea - When she gives birth, we will visit her

Like in English, you can reverse the order of dependent and independent clause


I suppose you would then lose the future aspect. It's implied in English but maybe has to be explicit in Swahili. Just a suggestion. ...


If they do (should) come, we shall buy presents...?


Kama is considered wrong. Why?


Strange! (Maybe the course developers just haven't added it yet?)

I just looked up "swahili kama vs ikiwa" in Google Books, and "kama/ikiwa" were shown as interchangeable to express a factual conditional, meaning "if (it is true that)". - Swahili Grammar and Workbook by Fidèle Mpiranya


The problem is that I doubt myself with these inconsistencies. When I think I got the grammar, suddenly it is different.... Thanks.


please explain when you use kama and when ikiwa


I've heard they're completely interchangeable


Kama wakija tutanunua zawadi This is how i have heard ppl say it in dsm


I thought "watakuja" means "they will come"


Quite right. And "ikiwa" means 'if'

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