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Swahili Questions

Swahili Questions
Learning the Swahili Questions 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 Questions is in the structure of the grammar
in Swahili.
Swahili questions may be either a linguistic expression used to make a request for information,
or else the request itself made by such an expression. Usually it starts with why, how, where,
when ...etc.
Grammar Tips:
In Swahili, intonation is used to differentiate a question from a statement. There are mainly 2
ways of asking a question to get a yes or no answer, and they are the following:
-Pronoun+ verb: Like English, the auxiliaries do and does are used. Swahili uses
auxiliary -na together with the personal pronouns. For example Nina wakati?( do I have
time?), Una wakati?(do you have time) Ana wakati? (does she have time?)
So you realize ni- 1st person, u- 2nd person and a- 3rd person. So, the English does is
used only in the 3rd person but can only be evident from the translation
*the issue f pronouns can be seen later.
-Pronoun + verb: Only the intonation makes the sentence interrogative. In this, there
is also the aspect of tenses. For example: unaenda nyumbani(you are going home)
ulienda nyumbani(you went home) utaenda nyumbani( you will go home)- these are just
statements. When you use the intonation, they become questions. For example
unaenda nyumbani?( are you going home?) ulienda nyumbani? ( did you go home),
utaenda nyumbani? (will you go home?-Verb +...+ pronoun. The pronoun goes last
* You realise that in the above example i used the 2nd pesron pronoun. You can do the
same with the pronouns of the first person and the second person

Here are some examples:


English Questions
Questions
how?
what?

Swahili Questions
Maswali
vipi?
nini?

English Questions
who?
why?
where?

Swahili Questions
nani?
nini?
wapi?

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

List of Questions in Swahili


Below is a list of the Questions and interrogative expressions in Swahili placed in a table.
Memorizing this table will help you add very useful and important words to your Swahili
vocabulary.
English Questions
where is he?
what is this?
why are you sad?
how do you want to pay?

Swahili Questions
yuko wapi?
ni kitu gani?
mbona una huzuni?
wataka kulipa vipi?

can I come?
is he sleeping?
do you know me?
do you have my book?
how big is it?
can I help you?
can you help me?
do you speak English?
how far is this?
what time is it?
how much is this?
what is your name?
where do you live?

naweza kuja?
amelala?
wanijua?
je, una kitabu changu?
waweza kueleza ukubwa wake?
ninaweza kukusaidia?
Unaweza kunisaidia?
Waongea kiingereza
waweza kueleza umbali wake?
ni saa ngapi?
ni kiasi gani?
Jina lako?
Unaishi wapi?