"We have drunk water"

Translation:Tumekunywa maji

July 10, 2018

This discussion is locked.


Did I miss something? Shouldn't it be Tumenywa maji??


No, with the short verbs whose stems are only one syllable ...

  • -la = to eat
  • -nywa = to drink [Yes, this is one syllable!]
  • -fa = to die
  • -wa = to be

... the -ku- is kept in various situations. This includes with the positive markers for the present, past, perfect and future tenses.

tunakunywa = we drink
vs. hatunywi = we don't drink

tulikunywa = we drank
vs. hatukunywa = we didn't drink [the "ku" here is the negative past tense marker]

tumekunywa = we have drunk
vs. hatuja(ku)nywa = we have not drunk [the ku is optional but fairly uncommon]

tutakunywa = we will drink
vs. hatutakunywa = we will not drink

Here are a bunch of other verbforms.

tukinywa = if we drink / (with us) drinking
tukanywa = and then we drank
tunywe = we should drink / let's drink
tusinywe = we shouldn't drink / let's not drink
tungekunywa = if we drank / we would drink
tungalikunywa = if we had drunk / we would have drunk
tulipokunywa = when we drank
tunapokunywa = when we drink [present, habitually]
tutakapokunywa = when we drink [future]

As you can see, this ku appears in some forms and not others. It's just a little quirk of Swahili grammar, but compared to, say, memorising lists of irregular verbs like "see, saw, seen; write, wrote, written; sing, sang, sung; sting, stung, stung; hang, hung, hung; bring, brought, brought", we're getting off pretty lightly.



I was (of course :) aware of the rules for one syllable stems (-la, -fa, etc), but not that -nywa should be treated as such.

So, I googled for the pronunciation of kunywa and found this other thread on Duolingo. Good to know!


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