1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swahili
  4. >
  5. "Clothes were not attractive"

"Clothes were not attractive"

Translation:Nguo hazikupendeza

September 22, 2017



Help. I'm stuck on this one. First, why the "ha" instead of "i" since this is a thing, I think of the noun class 12-13. But secondly, shouldn't the negative end in "i" rather than "a"? And finally, the infix "zi" seems to make it an objective. Is that because the causative verb has to have an object? Like, the clothes were not made attractive? Sorry this one has me stumped.


Hazi- = negative subject prefix for plural N/N class (class 10) (positive is zi-)
-ku- = negative past tense marker
NO object prefix
-pendeza = verb stem

The negative only ends in -i- in the present tense. That's kind of the negative equivalent of -na.

Basically, when switching to the negative, in the basic tenses, two things happen:

(1) The subject marker is made negative by adding ha- to the beginning.

In class 1, there are the irregular forms:

ha- + ni- = si-
ha- + u- = hu- (although I have seen and heard hau- for this from Kenyan sources)
ha- + a- = ha-

All the rest are regular: hatu-, ham-, hawa-, hau-, hai-, hali-, haya-, haki-, havi-, hai-, hazi-, hau-, hau-, haku-, hapa-, haku-, ham(u)-

(2) The markers of the basic tenses change:

Present: the prefix -na- becomes the suffix -i (only on verbs with -a otherwise)
Past: -li- becomes -ku-
Perfect: -me- becomes -ja- (although -ku- is sometimes equivalent and -ja- is more like "has not yet")
Future: -ta stays as -ta- (although I've heard that in some dialects it can change to -to-, but I've only heard that from one source.)


Thank you so much for this clear and concise explanation of negative - tense and subject markers. I don't know how I missed this in the notes and tips, but I was very confused about these.


You're overthinking it. Hazi- is the negative prefix. All negative prefixes are formed by ha+positive prefix, except first, second and third singular (although third singular with a locative suffix also follows this convention, e.g. yupo hapa, "(s)he is here", becomes hayupo hapa, (s)he is not here).


Could I use the me/ja past here as well, as nguo hazijapendeza?


i would also like to know why the answer is now "Nguo hazijapendeza". when something is attractive it is considered a state of being and all of the answers have been "-mependeza"

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