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  5. "A teacher has not gone to sc…

"A teacher has not gone to school"

Translation:Mwalimu hajaenda shule

May 15, 2018



Why not shuleni?


As I've read somewhere, Swahili and English have an interesting parallel kind of difference.

In English, we can say "Go to school/prison/hospital" etc., without an article and this indicates that we are going to the place for the main expected reason, ie. we are going to learn / be incarcerated / be treated there as a student / inmate / patient respectively.

If you work at one of these places or are going there for any other reason, you'd say "I'm going to the school" etc. (or "a"). <

In Swahili, I don't know how widespread the parallel is but I've seen it at least for shule(ni) and hospitali(ni). Of course, it's not an article missing but the choice between the locative variety of the noun and the original form of the noun.

Ninakwenda shule = I am going to school. (I am a student and I will learn there.)
Ninakwenda shuleni = I am going to the school. (No indication of what I will do there, maybe I work there or I am delivering something, visiting etc.)

I don't remember where I read this though, but if I find it again, I'll reference it here.


That makes sense. Thank you!

And if you happen to find that reference I would love to have it :)


I follow your logic, I guess, but why not? Since when does the -ni suffix imply specificity? So when I say "I am going home." "Ninaenda nyumbani," I'm actually saying, "I am going to THE home?" Or does this apply differently to nyumba than to shule?


Because -ni isn't always necessary.


Can you expand? Are there any rules or rules of thumb that help a new speaker know when to use -ni? Even the dictionary hints on this lesson give "shuleni" for "to school."

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