July 11, 2017

This discussion is locked.


They are essentially synonymous. In Simplified Swahili (p. 120), Wilson attempts to capture some of the difference in nuance between the two (and also between expressions like afadhali, bora and heri) as follows:


There are a few words in Swahili which express certain degrees of obligation.

lazima 'necessity, must, to be bound, to be sure to'
sharti 'obligation'
afadhali 'better, preferable'
bora 'best'
heri 'advantage, blessing, fortune'
yafaa Lit. 'it is suitable' (from kufaa).

With the exception of the last word in the above list, the word Ni ('it is') can precede any of these words. It is, however, usually omitted as being understood.

(Ni) Lazima uende sasa. 'You must go now.', 'It is necessary that you go now.'
(Ni) Sharti uende sasa. 'You are obliged to go now.'
(Ni) Afadhali uende sasa. 'You had better go now.'
(Ni) Bora uende sasa. 'You had best go now.'
(Ni) Heri uende sasa. 'It would be an advantage to go now.'
Yafaa uende sasa. 'It is as well to go now.'

It will be seen that only the first two examples are forceful, the other four have very little difference in implication, and are therefore more or less interchangeable.


Why then was 'It is necessary' marked wrong?


no. Lazima is basicly - necessary and sharti -must ( and another meanings - basicly it is noun cl. 5/6 sharti / masharti and the first meaning is - a condition )


In the English-Swahili translation item in the same lesson both words are suggested. So I really think they are not very different in meaning. In this lesson both are used as words that introduce the subjunctive form. I don't think I will care much about possible differences in use for now.

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