"Mlango haufungiki"

Translation:The door cannot be locked

May 16, 2018


  1. Where did this ki come from?
  2. Does this mean that the door cannot be locked or that it can be unlocked?
May 16, 2018

  1. The ik is frequently (but erroneously) called the stative suffix. This sentence means literally "The door does not close"/"is not closable". Cf. Sifungi mlango "I do not close the door.

  2. Locked

Kufunga = to close, lock (transitive)
Kufungua = to open, unlock (transitive)

Kufungika = to close, lock (intransitive)
Kufunguka = to open, unlock (intransitive)

eg. Nilifungua mlango = I opened the door
Mlango ulifunguka = the door opened

May 20, 2018


I've never seen any other name for the form than stative. What others are used, and in your opinion, what would be correct? I don't see why stative should be very wrong.

I know it's stative in function mainly in the perfect tense, as in "Mlango umefungika." - "The door is closed" or "Kikombe kimevunjika" - "The cup is broken". It's however quite different from the European concept of a stative verb that you can find in for instance the Germanic languages, and it has a wider range of meanings. Among those are the intransitive meaning that you refer to, but also the potential, as in "Kikombe kinavunjika." - "The cup is breakable". But a potential in the way it's used here is also a form of state and lacking a better term, stative isn't that bad.

July 9, 2018
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