1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swahili
  4. >
  5. "Kwa nini huli"

"Kwa nini huli"

Translation:Why are you not eating

December 6, 2018



I submitted "Why aren't you eating?" and was marked wrong. Reported it but seems like conjunctions should be added as acceptable answers ahead of time.


It is accepted now. I just submitted the exact same answer and was marked correct.


Shouldn't this be "Kwa nini ulikula"? I've never seen huli before, and to eat is kula?


kwa nini ulikula? is 'why did you eat?'

There are different prefixes for negated verbs in the past participle form. I'll use the verb kusoma (to read) in singular and plural:

1st person: Nasoma - sisomi. (I am reading - I am not reading)

Tunasoma - hatusomi(We are reading - we are not reading)

2nd person: Unasoma - husomi. Mnasoma - hamsomi

3rd person: Anasoma - hasomi. Wanasoma - hawasomi

Those are always the prefixes for negated verbs. For different tenses, the tense infix comes after the prefix indicating negation e.g. sikusoma (I did not read) and sitasoma (I will not read). Here is the same verb in the imperative form:

Soma! - Usisome! (singular)

Someni! - Msisome! (plural)


I put " why is it you are not eating?" Marked wrong. Really...these foolish errors in the system are driving me away..


All the comments are good and useful. But this seems a rather subtle point of grammar to be introducing at this point of the course. I find these to be distracting and even a bit annoying when I am trying to pick up the essential points of the lesson. I spent six months getting through this entire course and found way too many of these kinds of somewhat arcane (for a primary, beta level course) grammatical points. Put them in the second course, when and if it ever comes to pass. I doubt it. This course has many flaws and Duolingo seems to be making no progress whatsoever in updating and improving it. I started in August '19 and finished in February '20. Took a pandemic break only to come back to the same kinds of complaints about answers not being updated or corrected. And the same kinds of too sophisticated grammar points for a beginning course. I am also using Pimsleur Conversational, which is quite good and more immediately useful. As well as many other free resources on the web. My wife and I have a Maasai daughter and granddaughter and Kiswahili is really crucial for me as we go to Kenya often. And, of course, there is Maa, but that is different story! Really different. Just letting off steam about this course. I have studied Spanish my entire life, but taking on Swahili is a challenge. Duolingo is somewhat of a disappointment.


Is 'Kwa nini hukuli' also possible? Because just -la/li seems really short...


Could it also be "Why won't you eat?"


Why are some question words (like "kwa nini") placed before the verb, while others (like "nini" on its own) placed after it? The Tips and Notes on Swahili questions never explain this variation, and I'm extremely confused by it.

Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.