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Swahili Plural

Swahili Plural
Learning the Swahili Plural is very important because its structure is used in every day
conversation. The more you practice the subject, the closer you get to mastering the Swahili
language. But first we need to know what the role of Plural is in the structure of the grammar in
Swahili.
Swahili Plurals are grammatical numbers, typically referring to more than one of the referent in
the real world. In the English language, singular and plural are the only grammatical numbers.
Grammar Tips:
While in English, the plural is formed byadding (s) to the singular. In Swahili, to form the
plural of nouns and adjectives depends on the noun class. In Swahili,nouns are divided into 11
classes mainly following the syntax rules. For mostnouns, the prefix before the root tells whether
its in singular or plural.However, there are some nouns that dont change in their structure- the
changeis realized in the syntax. For example we have the noun class of all the nounsthat have
life- basically people.
Example- mtu (person) watu(persons)
In the sentence:
mtu amekuja( a person hascome), watu wamekuja( persons have come)
msichana ameingia( a girl hasentered), wasichana wameingia ( girls have entered)
daktari ametoka( the doctor hasgone ot) Madaktari wametoka( doctors have gone out)

This class is called A-WA class as you cansee from sentence construction.
* In this class many nouns have prefix m- inthe singular and wa- in the prulal. However there are
very many irregular nounsthat dont follow this rule. E.g Rafiki( friend) Daktari( doctor)
Kiwete(lameperson),
Rafiki(a friend) becomes: marafiki ( friends)
Mwanamke(one woman) becomes: Wanawake (manywomen)
Hilii ni gari langu lekundu (this is my redcar) becomes: Haya ni magari yangu mekundu (these
are my red cars)

Here are some examples:


English Plural
Plural
my book
my books
our daughter
our daughters
I'm cold
we're cold
his chickens
their chicken

Swahili Plural
Wingi
kitabu changu
vitabu vyangu
binti wetu
binti wetu
nasikia baridi
tunasikia baridi
kuku wake
kuku wao

As you can see from the example above, the structure of the Plural in Swahili has a logical
pattern. Locate the Plural above and see how it works with the rest of the sentence in Kiswahili.

List of Plurals in Swahili


Below is a list of the Plurals and Singulars in Swahili placed in a table. Memorizing this table
will help you add very useful and important words to your Swahili vocabulary.
English Plural
alligator
alligators
bear
bears
bird
birds
bull
bulls
cat
cats
cow
cows
deer
many deer
dog
dogs
donkey
donkeys
eagle

Swahili Plural
mamba
mamba
unknown
unknown
ndege
ndege
ng'ombe ndume
ng'ombe ndume
paka
paka
ng'ombe
ng'ombe
swara
swara wengi
mbwa
mbwa
punda
punda
tai

English Plural
eagles
elephant
elephants
giraffe
giraffes
goat
goats
horse
horses
lion
lions
monkey
monkeys
mouse
mice
rabbit
rabbits
snake
snakes
tiger
tigers
wolf
wolves

Swahili Plural
tai
tembo
tembo
twiga
twiga
mbuzi
mbuzi
farasi
farasi
simba
simba
kima
kima
panya
panya
sungura
sungura
nyoka
nyoka
chui wa mlia
chui wa mlia
mbwa mwitu
mbwa mwitu