"The key was not lost"

Translation:Ufunguo haukupotea

November 12, 2018



I do not understand why the first u in haukupotea is there. Shouldn't it be hakupotea?

February 5, 2019


I didn't understand that either...

May 6, 2019


When you are talking negatively about nouns you must use the prefix that matches the noun class for example; In this case the 'u' is for the U/N noun class which is the noun class of the word 'ufunguo'. Therefore, 'haukupotea' is structured - ha(negative marker), u - U/N noun class... and so on(this is NOT for M/WA class nouns though. I would really suggest looking at the notes for this lesson if you are on computer, unfortunately they don't have this for the phone app yet.

May 7, 2019


Understood! Thank you very much.

May 7, 2019


Wouldn't this be more correct? Haukupotea: didn't get lost. Haukupotezwa: wasn't lost.


November 12, 2018


Yeah, kind of. The problem is that the English sentence "The key was not lost" is ambiguous as to whether we're talking about (and negating) the past action of being lost by somebody, simply the past action of going missing (without implying that anyone lost it), or describing the past state that resulting from having being lost (by a person) or the past state of having gone missing (without implying an action by an agent).

Swahili is much more specific in this particular instance.

kupotea = to go missing, to be lost (i.e. an action, not a state, not implying any agency)

From this we get the causative verb:
kupotea = to lose, to cause to go missing, to cause to be lost

Then we can make a passive verb from that:
kupotezwa = to be lost, to get lost, to be caused to go missing

All of these, so far, describe the action, the transition going (or making something go) from "not lost" to "lost". To talk about the resulting state of being lost, you use the perfect tense in Swahili, and if we're talking about that state in the past then we have to use the past perfect, which is a compound tense using kuwa and then the main verb in the perfect tense. This is the same as saying the key "had been/gotten lost". There's no difference there in Swahili. So, as I see it, all four of these should be accepted:

1) Ufunguo haukupotea. [action, no implied agency]
2) Ufunguo haukupotezwa. [action, implied agency]
3) Ufunguo hakuwa umepotea. [resulting state, no implied agency]
4) Ufunguo hakuwa umepotezwa. [resulting state, implied agency]

The last two examples can also be expressed like this:

3b) Ufunguo ulikuwa haujapotea.
4b) Ufunguo ulikuwa haujapotezwa.**

The difference between the first versions and the "b" variants is more or less the same as saying "was not in the state of having been lost" and "was in the state of not having been lost", respectively. A fairly minor difference pragmatically speaking, but it does add two more solutions that should be accepted.

Was that clear? I hope so!

November 15, 2018
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