Quick Kiswahili-isms

Kiswahili is a language in which related words often tend to sound the same. Also, there are several instances where verbs are turned directly into nouns and vice versa. As a result of all of this, there are a few curious structures within the language that I thought I would mention. Sorry to keep the entry brief, but I don’t have much time to write at the moment, and I am hoping to get to sleep soon. Here’s a far-from-exhaustive list for you:

  • The noun for food is chakula. To eat is the verb kula, and the verb to take is kuchakua. This means that you are able to, kula chakula or kuchakua chakula. Hear the similarity?
  • In Kiswahili a man may marry, kuoa, but a woman may only be married, kuolewa.
  • The verb to organize or arrange is kupanga. The noun panga is the word for a common, machete-like device used as both a tool and a weapon.
  • The verb to hear is kusikia, and the word for the noun ear is sikio.
  • The noun for country is nchi, while the word for citizen is wananchi.

Hope you enjoyed your brief and simple Kiswahili lesson for the day.

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