1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swahili
  4. >
  5. "Will they go to the ocean to…

"Will they go to the ocean tomorrow?"

Translation:Wataenda baharini kesho?

September 19, 2017



I thought questions were indicated with "Je" at the beginning, but I get marked wrong for that. Are there instances where Je is inappropriate?


I thought the -ini suffix is only used when the destination is specific. "to the ocean" is hardly specific. If it had been the ocean park or the house on the ocean I could see it. Why is -ini used here?


No, as far as I know, it's nothing (or little) to do with specificity. The -ni suffix transforms a noun into one of the three locative classes ... but which class is meant is unclear unless there are other words in the sentence that show you which one.

Class 16 (pa, pangu, pako etc.) is mostly used for precise locations. "To, at, in, on, from" (Is this what you were thinking about with specificity??)
Class 17 (kwa, kwangu, kwako etc.) is generally used for less precise locations. "To, towards, at, in, on, around, from" Class 18 (mwa, mwangu, mwako etc.) is used for internal locations. "Into, in, inside, out of" ...

It's not quite that clear-cut because there are idiomatic usages of each. The word mahali/mahala/pahali/pahala (various variants of the word for "place/location") is always locative without the ni suffix and it's usually (but not always) class 16 (eg. mahali pangu = my location).

In any case, which of these classes is meant is unclear in the sentence because there's no word that can show it. The -ni simply says this word is a locative noun tha belongs to one of them. After the verb kwenda, the destination is almost always either a locative noun or a prepositional phrase (introduced by katika, kwenye, ndani ya etc.) ... I've seen exceptions like Ninaenda shule or Twende kazi but mostly the -ni simply indicates a location.


I am not understanding when to use the "kw" in sentences about going somewhere and when it is just "enda" in the sentence. I assume it has something to do with the letter sounds before the -enda, but I am not sure. Can anyone help?


Both '-enda' and '-kwenda' can be used. Really just depends on the speaker.


Can anyone please explain why is it necessary wrong to start with kesho? "Kesho wataenda baharini?"


I'm tired of having to GUESS if the 'je' will be correct or incorrect for a basic question.

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