1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swahili
  4. >
  5. "A door has dirty"

"A door has dirty"

Translation:Mlango una uchafu

September 7, 2017



I would be tempted to translate this as "a door has dirt". Still not a good sentence, but works with what's there better than the given English.

It all depends on whether uchafu is the class 11 noun or the -chafu adjective with class 3 agreement. The use of una, "has", suggests the former, but given some of the sentences in this course you do wonder...


I understand the Swahili sentence, and what it conveys, but the English is really bad. If you wanted a direct translation, I think "a/the door has dirtyness" would be the best one, but it would still be awkward. Of course the idiomatically correct sentence in English would be "a/the door is dirty". I see that the highlighting in my last post is different from what I intended.


I think it should simply be translated as "The door is dirty." When you do other languages, you'll see sentences like

Ich habe Angst = "I am afraid" (German)
Ho fame = "I am hungry" (Italian)

Like, we could, in theory, give these in English as "I have fear" and "I have hunger" - both correct English sentences - but they're simply not natural and we should be learning to equate them with the phrase in the language we're learning. If kuwa na uchafu is the usual way for saying that an object is dirty in Swahili, then I think the English should just be "the door is dirty". If it is also idiomatic to say mlango ni mchafu, then both should be accepted as answers in the English to Swahili direction


It could well be the case. "I'm hungry" in Swahili is nina njaa (and "I'm thirsty is nina kiu), which does follow the "I have" construction.

I haven't seen these phrases in the course (though it is possible I missed them).


Yeah, there's a bit of a tendency for English to prefer to use adjectives where other languages may use nouns.


If it were the adjective -chafu with class 3 agreement, it would be mchafu.

Mlango una uchafu.
Mlango ni mchafu.



If you find where I put my brain, could you please return it?


No, it's mine now. [strokes brain] :-P


You cad! Give it back!


why Una rather than Ana...this would mean it translates as 'a door, you have dirty, rather than the door 'it' has dirty!


It is still "una". The word "mlango" belongs to the "u/i" noun class, and takes the subject prefixes "u-" in singular and "i-" in plural.


Don't you mean the "door is dirty" or "The door has dirt on it"?

Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.