"If they come, we will buy presents"
Translation:Ikiwa watakuja tutanunua zawadi
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!
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
In the tips + notes it says:
"When -ki- is used with monosyllabic verbs, the infinitive ku- is dropped."
FYI: machieng has written an advanced lesson on when you can drop the "ku-" in monosyllabic verbs. (The lesson isn't about the conditional though.)
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
Isn't that "if" twice ("ikiwa" = if and "wakija" = if/when they come)?
There should only be one conditional, and I suspect that you need to indicate the future aspect ("-ta-"), which, as I mentioned above, is implied in the English "if they come" but maybe it has to be explicit in Swahili ("ikiwa watakuja" = "if they will come").