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"We will not be able to cook stiff porridge if we don't try"

Translation:Tusipojaribu kupika ugali hatutaweza

June 29, 2018



What's wrong with 'Tusipojaribu hatutaweza kupika ugali'?


Nothing wrong, it's correct and should be accepted.


The "kupika ugali" part is associated with the ability ("hatutaweza") rather than with the attempt. So the literal translation should be "Hatutaweza kupika ugali tusipojaribu", yet it's not accepted.


Swahili is spoken just as english is. Hatutaweza means 'we will not be able' Tusipojaribu means 'if we do not try' Wherever the words are placed in the sentence is exactly where the translation should be. Only in very rare cases does one require to change the word placement.


Is the po part really needed?


it doesn't make sense without it. The '-po-' denotes if/when, depending on the sentence. Usually if it's negative (accompanied by the prefix '-si-', always present tense) it's 'if', e.g. 'usipofaulu...' = 'if you don't succeed...'. If it's positive (can be past, present or future) it's 'when': 'Alipoenda/anapoenda/atakapoenda' = 'when (s)he went/goes/will go'


Two questions: 1) Is this really a natural word order? 2) Are there other word-order possibilities?


The offered Swahili sentence says "If we don't try to cook stiff porridge we will not be able." which has a weird meaning compared to the basic English sentence: "We will not be able to cook stiff porridge if we don't try." Reported and asked for correction of the word order 22-Oct-2018


By the way, does anybody else find it weird to translate ugali? It's the name of the dish, stiff porridge is just a description. Do we also need to translate banku, fufu, matooke, etc.?


I see nothing wrong with a word-by-word translation here: Hatutaweza kupika ugali tusipojaribu or if you want to put the conditional phrase first: Tusipojaribu, hatutaweza kupika ugali. There is no reason I can see for jumbling the word order as the "correct answer" suggests, and in fact doing so changes the meaning slightly.

Duo can leave the jumbled version as the suggested correct answer if they wish, but the alternatives need to be accepted. Otherwise, it becomes another "copy and paste" exercise to get the "right" answer.

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