If there is native speaker to help: When it comes to adjectives i know vowel/consonant stem adjectives must agree with nouns. But what about situations when I speak to somebody and I dont want to say full sentence but rather comment with one word? For example, I take something heavy, and say "mmm, heavy", or somebody is speaking and i just want to comment "smart/clever". Should we use only stem to express our self in such way or....?

June 30, 2017


As BenUserName says, you use the agreement with the noun you are describing, and if you don't know what it is, just guess. Generally people don't laugh at you for making such mistakes, the worst I've heard were corrections on what I should say. Another interesting question I always had was what agreement should I use when I want to describe an action? In this case I notice native speakers using the vi- class agreement.

yeah. vi- is the sort of default "adverb" prefix. "vigumu" for difficult is a common one. I'd second what you said about just choosing a prefix for an unknown object. I usually default to the n/n prefix if I don't know what the correct one is.

Not a native speaker or even particularly fluent, so take this with a big bucket of salt, but speaking from general linguistic experience, it probably depends on what it is. If you pick up my shoes, you'd probably say Vizito! but if you pick up some mangoes, then mazito.

Of course, in all the cases where you either don't know the word, don't know what the thing is, or there are many options, there's probably a kind of "default" noun class. In Swahili, there doesn't seem to be one single class which is always default, and there's considerable variation among dialects, but very often, the 9/10 (N-N) class is default for inanimate things, so that would be nzito. The counting forms of numbers, for example, are from the 9/10 class. In fact, a lot of non-native Swahili speakers (and non-natives are by far the majority of speakers) tend to use 9/10 concords for all inanimate things. A friend of mine told me Kiswahili yako ni nzuri (instead of Kiswahili chako ni kizuri) ... he's only seen my writing though and hasn't seen me awkwardly fumbling my way through a conversation in real time, lol.

With "smart/clever", it probably depends on whether you're implying "YOU are clever" or "that was a clever thing to do." With the first, I'd say it'd almost definitely be mwerevu (or werevu for multiple people)... with the second, not sure. The class 8 concords (vi-) are often used for adverbial meanings, so maybe you'd say Vyerevu, but I'm really not sure. The kw- forms of some things are also used for adverbial things at times.

I don't know how helpful this has been, but I thought I'd throw some semi-justified possibilities out there that you can read before someone more knowledgeable replies, because there aren't many native speakers around here. There are a few who I think are quite competent users of the language (juryrigging comes to mind), but I'm just a grammar nerd.

Thank you for your effort. Ok, i'll take it with pinch of salt :) I guess we will figure it out as we dive into language more and more.

According to Wiki, when it comes to internet culture, 1% of people r creators, 9% r contributors and rest r lurkers. Being a grammar nerd and sharing some of knowledge with other learners is pretty much good thing.

Btw. if I pick up your shoes, comment would be "harufu mbaya", i guess :D

Yeah, that's why I comment. I often learn stuff along the way while researching for posts. Being interactive here helps me feel like I'm learning something. I really hate it when people give "help" that ends up being wrong though, so I think people should always be frank with how much the know or don't know.

Maybe harufu mbaya!, maybe saizi gani?? or maybe just AAAH, MACHO YANGUUUUU! These are the shoes I wear most at the moment. They get some stares:

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