SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

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SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-06, 16:00

This is another spin-off of my main log, and this time, it is dedicated to Swahili, one of my most favorite languages.

This log is about someone's personal learning progress (aiming to reach intermediate level at least), and about Surface Level Swahili. There also is another thread that could be of additional interest to some of you. I opened that other thread for those who would have something on their minds about what I am writing in this log, while what they would like to say is in-depth, rather detailed and beyond Surface Level Swahili. As for anything else anyone would like to say about what I wrote in this log, they of course simply could reply here, rather than going to another thread.

Swahili topics that are too in-depth for SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

For those who are curious whether myself spending some time on this language interferes with spending some time on another one, like Japanese: no, it doesn't do so at all, as surprising as it may seem. This is because I am learning them in rotation anyway. In addition, I have got a certain amount of Japanese energy, and a certain amount of Swahili energy. They aren't really related to each other. It is a different story with Spanish and French for some reasons, but even for those two, I give both of them a certain amount of my totally available time, so to say.

Also, I am mentally interlinking Japanese and Swahili, because they have got more in common than it seems. Both are agglutinative languages, which means that words in both of them can be rather long because they consist of several Word Building Blocks.

In this log, I plan to post any (big or small) Swahili-related progress. At the time I am opening this thread, I already speak some basic Swahili (which means in this context: it is among the languages that I am not only able to read and write). I was also already able to advance much more with it than with Japanese, which means that in the case of Kiswahili (as you call it in Swahili itself, "ki-" means something like "language of"), I already am closer to post-beginner's level. And now it may be the time to go towards the goal of reaching the intermediate level at least.

That was a warm-up.

Now starting by reviewing something I already read in the past:

- The difference between "open" and "close" is a single letter only.

funga mlango: close the door (you, singlar)
fungua mlango: open the door (you, singular)

So "-funga" is the verb stem of "to close". And this "-a-" suffix reverses the meaning.

- "njoo" is one of the few irregular imperative verbs I ever have read about. It means "come" (you, singular). The stem for "to come" is "-kuja". If anybody of you knows why this rare irregularity occured, I'd be interested in hearing it.

- One of the things I didn't really learn much about yet are Swahili's noun classes. There is no grammatical gender like "el" and "la" in Spanish. But there is a number of noun classes (exactly/approximately ten). They are all about a number of changes to both the nouns themselves and other words surrounding them, like adjectives, demonstrative pronouns and also verbs even. But it really is a rather simple thing, it's just not something that can be learned overnight.
Last edited by SomehowGeekyPolyglot on 2018-11-08, 6:14, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-06, 16:33

The KI/VI [KI/VI] class:

This is one of those lovely noun classes.
Now what do those "KI/VI [KI/VI]" words mean?

The first occurrence of KI/VI means that there are nouns inside this class which start with "ki-" in the singular and "vi-" in the plural.

Maybe you'd even like to re-read the above sentence while paying close attention to its wording.
It doesn't state that all nouns in this class necessarily begin that way. But only that within it, there are nouns that do so. This is because there are some others, too. Like chumba/vyumba which means room/rooms.

And the second occurrence of KI/VI (between square brackets this time) means that all verbs used for a noun of this class start with "ki-" in the singular and "vi-" in the plural. Including words like chumba/nyumba.

Some KI/VI [KI/VI] class noun examples:

- kiti/viti: chair/chairs
- chumba/vyumba: room/rooms
- some (as far as I can see) rare words that either are KI/KI or VI/VI for both singular and plural, not even mentioning them for now.
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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-06, 17:08

Possessive pronoun base suffixes:

-angu: my

-ako: your (singular)

-ake: his/her

-etu: our

-enu: your (plural)

-ao: their

But why are they "base" suffixes? Because for a full word, they are appended to something else.

The following examples are related to the word "kalamu/kalamu" (pen/pens), and all other nouns in the same class. The affixes are Y/Z, so they are "y-" for one pen and "z-" for two or more.

Examples:

kalamu yangu: my pen
kalamu zangu: my pens

kalamu yako: your (singular) pen
kalamu zako: your (singular) pens

kalamu yake: his/her pen
kalamu zake: his/her pens

kalamu yetu: our pen
kalamu zetu: our pens

kalamu yenu: your (plural) pen
kalamu zenu: your (plural) pens

kalamu yao: their pen
kalamu zao: their pens
Last edited by SomehowGeekyPolyglot on 2018-11-06, 17:34, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby linguoboy » 2018-11-06, 17:22

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Now starting by reviewing something I already read in the past:

- The difference between "open" and "close" is a single letter only.

funga mlango: close the door (you, singlar)
fungua mlango: closeopen the door (you, singular)

So "-funga" is the verb stem of "to close". And this "-u-" suffix reverses the meaning.

Gotta watch that copypasting!

In linguistic terminology, -u- here is an infix because it is inserted between the stem (-fung-) and the suffix (-a). For simplicity, prefixes, infixes, circumfixes, and suffixes can be collectively term affixes.

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:The stem for "to come" is "-kuja".

The stem of this verb is -j-. Ku- is the infinitive prefix, which is retained with so-called "short verbs", and the suffix -a is the default for verbs unless superseded by -e or -i.
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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-06, 17:55

linguoboy wrote:
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Now starting by reviewing something I already read in the past:

- The difference between "open" and "close" is a single letter only.

funga mlango: close the door (you, singlar)
fungua mlango: closeopen the door (you, singular)

So "-funga" is the verb stem of "to close". And this "-u-" suffix reverses the meaning.

Gotta watch that copypasting!


That one either happened by copying and pasting the line I wrote, or it was simply a typo. But I edited it now.

linguoboy wrote:In linguistic terminology, -u- here is an infix because it is inserted between the stem (-fung-) and the suffix (-a). For simplicity, prefixes, infixes, circumfixes, and suffixes can be collectively term affixes.


Yes, all of those Swahili Word Building Blocks are called affixes.
And "-u-" here is an infix without no doubt. But if suffix means "something that is attached", then I also would call it a suffix, even if this would be based on a broader definition of that word.

linguoboy wrote:
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:The stem for "to come" is "-kuja".

The stem of this verb is -j-. Ku- is the infinitive prefix, which is retained with so-called "short verbs", and the suffix -a is the default for verbs unless superseded by -e or -i.


A bit in-depth (I didn't write those words for you linguoboy, but for others who possibly would be only intending to read about Surface Level Swahili for now :wink:):

Yes, "-a" is the default verb end suffix, no doubt.

Also I am aware of "ku-" being the infinitive prefix that is kept when the verbs are very short.

To me, the verb stem (in the meaning I use that term) also contains the ending vowel.

And as for the rest, it doesn't matter too much to me if "-kuja" literally would be the verb stem, or if the very stem would be "-ja" only.

Even in the later case, because it is a very short verb, there still would be a "-ku-" affix which comes before "-ja", and the combination of those two still would be "-kuja", so it is treated like a "genuine Swahili verb stem starting with -ku", leading to the same result.

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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby linguoboy » 2018-11-06, 20:05

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:
linguoboy wrote:In linguistic terminology, -u- here is an infix because it is inserted between the stem (-fung-) and the suffix (-a). For simplicity, prefixes, infixes, circumfixes, and suffixes can be collectively term affixes.

Yes, all of those Swahili Word Building Blocks are called affixes.
And "-u-" here is an infix without no doubt. But if suffix means "something that is attached", then I also would call it a suffix, even if this would be based on a broader definition of that word.

And if a frog had wings, he wouldn't bust his ass a-hoppin'!

Suffix means specifically "something that is attached to the end of a word". There's a word for "something that is attached" without specifying where it is attached. That word is affix.

Weren't you the one condemning Humpty-Dumptyism before?

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:The stem for "to come" is "-kuja".

The stem of this verb is -j-. Ku- is the infinitive prefix, which is retained with so-called "short verbs", and the suffix -a is the default for verbs unless superseded by -e or -i.

A bit in-depth (I didn't write those words for you linguoboy, but for others who possibly would be only intending to read about Surface Level Swahili for now :wink:):

That's exactly why I think it's important to ensure they're accurate. You don't want to confuse people right off the bat.

But isn't the title of the thread "Beyond Beginner's Swahili"?

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:To me, the verb stem (in the meaning I use that term) also contains the ending vowel.

What is that meaning and how does it differ from the definition of "stem" as it is generally used in linguistics?

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Even in the later case, because it is a very short verb, there still would be a "-ku-" affix which comes before "-ja", and the combination of those two still would be "-kuja", so it is treated like a "genuine Swahili verb stem starting with -ku", leading to the same result.

This is false. The -ku- is retained only in some inflectional forms (e.g. definite present, past and future indicative), not across the board. One of the forms that lacks it (the imperative) is right there in your post! If you consider ku- and -a both "part of the stem" of kuja, then you have to account for what happens to them in njoo (beyong just calling it "irregular").
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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-06, 21:21

Decided not to reply to the above post for some not-entirely-non-obvious reasons (that do not include something like the lack of answers). But I am still replying to two matters mentioned because they have some additional significance.

linguoboy wrote:That's exactly why I think it's important to ensure they're accurate. You don't want to confuse people right off the bat."


As for this log's main content, there is nothing that I would call confusing. The concept of noun classes, for example, can easily become entirely clear even to someone starting from the very beginning. Maybe it requires a bit of re-reading, but it still is an easy concept.

And as for our past little conversation about some Below The Surface Details, there, maybe a bit of confusion could occur because it is somewhat in-depth. But one wouldn't need to think of these details too much in order to get started with Swahili etc.

linguoboy wrote:"But isn't the title of the thread "Beyond Beginner's Swahili"?"


The whole title is "SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log". I.e. a log for the purpose of being beyond beginner's Swahili, as it also is mentioned in the first post. The title isn't meant as "I already am now beyond beginner's Swahili". And in addition, anything I am currently learning about Swahili also includes some not-so-small Connecting The Dots that is happening in the background, because the degree of familiarity with this language is higher than my current ability to speak or understand it. So whatever I am right now learning about it also includes strengthening the pathways of something that already is there but needs some optimization. Now that is an additional reason of myself calling it "SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log".

I may or may not reply to future posts of you in this log, this also depends on both of their content and the way you would be talking. But as for the "the language called communication" log, you already made some rather interesting contributions. Even if I would decide not to reply to your future posts in the Swahili log, anything especially useful that you would write in the other one is something I do like to reply to.

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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby linguoboy » 2018-11-06, 21:36

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Decided not to reply to the above post for some not-entirely-non-obvious reasons (that do not include something like the lack of answers).

It's pretty obvious that you do not take correction well. I sympathise that; I used to be the same way when I was younger. It ended up being a serious hindrance to my language learning. To learn a language well, you need to make a lot of mistakes. You're very lucky to find people around with the expertise to catch those mistakes and the patience to correct you.

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:As for this log's main content, there is nothing that I would call confusing. The concept of noun classes, for example, can easily become entirely clear even to someone starting from the very beginning. Maybe it requires a bit of re-reading, but it still is an easy concept.

I wasn't talking about noun classes. I was talking about using standard terminology in a misleading way and mislabeling things.

SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:The whole title is "SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log". I.e. a log for the purpose of being beyond beginner's Swahili, as it also is mentioned in the first post. The title isn't meant as "I already am now beyond beginner's Swahili".

Then it confusing that you also say in the first post:
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:At the time I am opening this thread, I already speak some basic Swahili (which means in this context: it is among the languages that I am not only able to read and write).


SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:I may or may not reply to future posts of you in this log, this also depends on both of their content and the way you would be talking.

That won't keep me from replying when I find errors. As I said, my concern is that you don't spread false information to others learning the language.

With that in mind:
SomehowGeekyPolyglot wrote:Like chumba/nyumba which means room/rooms.

Nyumba means "house" and it's a noun of the so-called n-class. Chumba is derived from it (the ki/vi-class is often used to form diminutives) and its plural is vyumba (which you write correctly at the end of your post).
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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-06, 21:45

@everyone else reading this log:

It's not that I am not open to correction if there is something that needs to be corrected. For example [EDIT], he is right about the fact that I, while I correctly wrote chumba/vyumba one time in a post, I also wrote chumba/nyumba one time. This was a typo that happened this time even while I was paying close attention, and I know that nyumba is something different. After he pointed it out, I immediately corrected it.

I even could mention some more examples, but I do not feel the need of "having to prove myself" or anything like that.

What prevents me from replying to a certain person (whom I still wouldn't want to treat the same way he treats me) is largely related to the way he speaks to me, even if he possibly isn't aware of the fact that it easily can be perceived as somewhat mean-ish.

Because if he was aware of it but still would do it that way, it would be a very different story. Then I wouldn't even consider replying anymore.

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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-08, 6:33

Some good news about something I recently mentioned: I was able to talk to linguoboy a bit about some past conversations between us in this thread. And just to make it clear, I didn't call his way of speaking about language topics mean in the last post, instead, I only wrote that it can be perceived that way. But as for his particular case, it even was possible to know that he uses this way of speech because of making factual statements about languages only.

(If someone would be curious why I am even mentioning it, well, I also experienced countless cases of persons speaking in a way that sounds the same, but those persons were doing it because of entirely different reasons. Although not even mentioning their reasons because they are unrelated to him anyway.)

This (personal) learning log still is about something called Surface Level Swahili, and about aiming to reach intermediate level at least. Because of that, I opened a new thread for anything beyond it. So if any of you has anything on his/her mind about anything I write, but what he/she wants to say is in-depth, rather detailed and beyond Surface Level Swahili, he/she could use the link below instead. It is also possible to additionally reply to this thread for the purpose of mentioning a direct link to the new specific post.

And even if others like (including but not limited to) linguoboy possibly wouldn't do it this way, I think that I still would reply there (not here) while also posting (i.e. in this thread) a direct link to my new reply.

I added the new link to the beginning of this log's first post as well.

Swahili topics that are too in-depth for SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-08, 9:59

Now I answered to some of what linguoboy previously wrote.

It is in this post, and in the post that comes after it (because of being something that is outside the scope of this Surface Level Swahili log):

https://forum.unilang.org/viewtopic.php?f=132&t=56150&p=1123751#p1123747

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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-09, 7:02

Sensing a desire of Reaching the First New Swahili Progress Milestone.

Especially when it comes to this language, it currently is more of simply connecting already drawn dots to me, and less of learning something entirely new.

So what I'd like to do is to reach that first new milestone, which would mean
- a small but not insignificant increase of my "Wortschatz" ("treasure of words" literally)
- knowing some more Swahili Sentence Linking Words
- advancing at least a bit more with the noun classes, even if I still would have to simplify some things by, for example, using "... ya ..." in many cases when speaking of "... belongs to ...", while in Pure Standard Swahili, it would sometimes be "ya", sometimes "cha" or "za" or something else.

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Re: SGP's Beyond Beginner's Swahili Log

Postby SomehowGeekyPolyglot » 2018-11-24, 22:33

This log now has been re-merged with the main multi-language log.

https://forum.unilang.org/viewtopic.php?f=119&t=56093


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