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The narrative *-ka-* tense

The Tips & Notes on the -ka- skill explicitly say:

When we use -ka-, the -li- tense appears first at the beginning of the sentence with the first verb and then it is replaced with the -ka- infix in the next verbs in order to denote that the narrative is in past tense.

And yet, the skill is riddled with sentences such as nikatembea na nikakimbia, not only clearly starting the narration with -ka-, but also using na in between, which according to all sources I could find is not supposed to come before -ka-.

I would understand if that was one mistake in a sentence or two, but it really feels like the Tips & Notes teach one thing and the exercises test for a different thing entirely and mark you wrong when you follow the instructions on the Tips & Notes.

What could possibly have gone wrong during the making of the Swahili tree for this to be happening now?

October 12, 2018

1 Comment


This is what Wikipedia has to say on the -li- and -ka- tenses:

[/quote] The consecutive tense is mainly used with the past tense -li- in narrating a sequence of events whereby -li- is used for the first verb and -ka- for subsequent verbs. It roughly carries the meaning "and then" and makes the use of na "and" or halafu / kisha "then" essentially redundant. Where context is clearly past, a narrative may also be begun with -ka-. [/endquote]

So, it seems OK under certain conditions to start with the -ka- tense, rather than with -li-

Another question: what about the negative? Which of the last two sentences would be correct?

Nilimwona nikakimbia: I saw him (and then) I ran.

Nilimwona sikukimbia: I saw her (and then) I didn't run.

Nilimwona sikakimbia: I saw her (and then) I didn't run.

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