Learn Somali Online: Driving Test
driving school
Mohammed M. Nur
Mohammed M. Nur

Professional Somali Language Teacher & Founder of Heedheh

Somali Writing Class is a class designed to help my Somali language learners develop their composition skills. Emphasis is placed on spelling, and the basics of language knowledge (i.e., word morphology, syntax, and vocabulary). Students either submit texts they have written in English and then translated into Somali, or they translate Somali texts into English, or they write a text in Somali.

B- Waan fahmay. Ma waxaad ku jirtaa barashada u diyaar garowga imtixaaankaas hadda?

When asking some one a question, begin with 'Ma waxaad…'

'waxaad' should immediately follow the question marker 'ma'

Are you…? Ma waxaad…?

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Table of Contents

The Driving Test

Student submitted Text

A. I want to learn how to drive a car.
B. This is great. Are you taking driving lessons right now?
C. No, not yet. First, I have to take a written test about driving laws.
D. I understand. Are you studying in preparation for that test right now?
Yes, but it is difficult. There are many new words that I don’t understand.
No problem, I can help you with your studying.
But what happens if I fail the test?
Then you can try it again. Many take it 2 or 3 times before they succeed.
That’s good. After I pass the paper test, I think driving will be easy for me.

Student submitted Somali translation

A. Waxaan rabaa in aan barto wadista baabuurka.
B. Waa si wanagsan. Hadda ma qaadataa casharo wadista babuurka?
A. Maya, weli ma qaadayo casharkas. Marka hore waa inaan qaadato imtixaan qoraal ku dhiga oo ku sabsan sharciyada wadista baabuurka.
B. Waan gartey. Hadda ma wax u bartaa ku saabsan sharciyo wadista babuurka si imtixaankan u qaadato?
A. Haa, lakiin adayg wayee. Waxaa jiraaa erayo badan oo aanan fahmin.
B. Dhibaato ma leh. Waan kaa caawi karaa waxbarashadaada.
A. Laakiin si aan imtixaankan guuldarreysto, maxaa dhacaa?
B. Mar kale isku dayi kartaa. Waxaa jiraa dad badan oo aan guleeysan imtixaankan markii ugu horeysaa, laakiin way guleysteen 2-3 isku dayid ka dib.
A. Waa si wanagsan. Markaan guleyso imtixaanka oo warqad lagu qoraa, wadista babuurka way ii sahlan doonaa.

Detailed Analysis

Note 1: Sida shaaha loo sameeyo

A. Waxaan rabaa in aan barto wadista baabuurka.

A. I want to learn how to drive a car.

This is a really good sentence. Note that the English sentence includes the word ‘how’. So how can we edit the Somali to add the word ‘how’?

A- Waxaan rabaa inaan barto sida baabuurka loo wado.
A. I want to learn how to drive a car.

Just add the construct

sida + [noun] loo + infinitive verb
how + [noun] to + infinitive verb [do something]

loo is formed of the personal pronoun ‘la’ and ‘u’ which always follows the word ‘sida’

Another example,

Sida shaaha loo sameeyo.
How to make tea.

Waxaan rabaa inaan barto sida shaaha loo sameeyo.
I want to learn how to make tea.

Note 2: Ma qaadataa casharo wadista babuurka

B. Waa si wanagsan. Hadda ma qaadataa casharo wadista babuurka?

B. This is great. Are you taking driving lessons right now?

Waa sax. This sentence is correct.

Note 3: imtixaanka qoraaalka ah

A. Maya, weli ma qaadayo casharkas. Marka hore waa inaan qaadato imtixaan qoraal ku dhiga oo ku sabsan sharciyada wadista baabuurka.

A. No, not yet. First, I have to take a written test about driving laws.

You wrote, “Marka hore waa inaan…” – this is excellent!

and you used the infinitive verb ‘qaadato’ – also very good.

But, qaadato would be 2nd person sing. or 3rd person feminine. So, first person would be

qaato

For example,

A- Maya weli. Horta waa inaan qaato imtixaanka qoraaalka ah ee xeerarka wadista baabuurka.

“… imtixaan qoraal ku dhiga oo ku sabsan …”

imtixaan qoraal is good.

Remember to add the definite article – imtixaanka qoraaalka

Note in the following sentence there are two noun phrases joind by ‘ee’ meaning ‘of’ or ‘belonging to’

First noun phrase:
imtixaanka qoraaalka ah
the written test

Second noun phrase:
xeerarka wadista baabuurka
driving laws

… imtixaanka qoraaalka ah ee xeerarka wadista baabuurka

xeerarka and sharciyada are interchangeable. Although in this context xeerarka is better.

Note 4: When asking some one a question, begin with ‘Ma waxaad…

B. Waan gartey. Hadda ma wax u bartaa ku saabsan sharciyo wadista babuurka si imtixaankan u qaadato?

B. I understand. Are you studying in preparation for that test right now?

The correction would be

B- Waan fahmay. Ma waxaad ku jirtaa barashada u diyaar garowga imtixaaankaas hadda?

When asking some one a question, begin with ‘Ma waxaad…’

‘waxaad’ should immediately follow the question marker ‘ma’

Are you…? Ma waxaad…?

Is he…? Ma wuxuu…?

Is she…? Ma waxay…?

Why is this important? Because we need to focus who is being asked a question.

B- Waan fahmay. Ma waxaad ku jirtaa barashada u diyaar garowga imtixaaankaas hadda?

Your sentence is missing ‘u diyaar garowga’ – to prepare for

Note 5: the ‘ku’ meaning in – Waxa ku jira…

A. Haa, lakiin adayg wayee. Waxaa jiraaa erayo badan oo aanan fahmin.

A. Yes, but it is difficult. There are many new words that I don’t understand.

Good sentences.

‘Haa, lakiin adayg wayee’ is missing ‘waa’

Haa, laakiin waa/wuu adayg weyee

‘Waxaa jiraaa erayo badan oo aanan fahmin’ is excellent! Well done!

A- Haa laakiin wuu adag yahay. Waxa ku jira ereyo badan oo cusub oo aan fahmayn.

Note the ‘ku’ meaning in – Waxa ku jira…

Note 6: ‘anaa’ is a contraction of ‘aniga baa’

B. Dhibaato ma leh. Waan kaa caawi karaa waxbarashadaada.

B. No problem, I can help you with your studying.

B. Dhibaato ma leh. Waan kaa caawi karaa waxbarashadaada.
B. No problem, I can help you with your studying.

Another excellent sentence!

Note that ‘waxbarashado’ means education

wax + barashado
something + learn

whereas

‘barashado’ means learning

barashada af-Soomaaliga
Learning Somali language

B- Dhib má leh aniga baa kaa caawin karaya barashadaada.

or you can say the same sentence as

B- … anaa kaa caawin karaya barashadooda.

‘anaa’ is a contraction of ‘aniga baa’ which is used in spoken Somali.

Note 7: Use ‘ku dhaco’ for ‘failing’ exams

A. Laakiin si aan imtixaankan guuldarreysto, maxaa dhacaa?

A. But what happens if I fail the test?

Note the English has ‘if’ in the sentence. And you did well to use ‘si’

The corrected sentence would be

A- Laakiin sidee bay noqon doontaa haddaan ku dhaco imtixaaankii?

‘… sidee bay noqon doontaa’
… how will it be … if …

Use ‘ku dhaco’ for ‘failing’ exams instead ‘guuldarreysto’

Note 8: The subject must be focused with either ‘baad/ayaad’

B. Mar kale isku dayi kartaa. Waxaa jiraa dad badan oo aan guleeysan imtixaankan markii ugu horeysaa, laakiin way guleysteen 2-3 isku dayid ka dib.

B. Then you can try it again. Many take it 2 or 3 times before they succeed.

Really good attempt.

‘Markaas’ – then

‘Mar kale isku dayi kartaa.’ is missing the focus – the focus marker ‘baad/ayaad’

The subject must be focused with either ‘baad/ayaad’

A- Markaas mar labaad baad isku dayi kartaa.

The correction would be

A- Markaas mar labaad baad isku dayi kartaa. Qaar badan baa mar labaad iyo mar sadeexaadba gela ka hor intaaanay ku guulaysan.

Note 9: ‘oo warqad lagu qoraa’ is unnecessary.

A. Waa si wanagsan. Markaan guleyso imtixaanka oo warqad lagu qoraa, wadista babuurka way ii sahlan doonaa.

A. That’s good. After I pass the paper test, I think driving will be easy for me.

The correction would be

A. Waa hagaag. Ka dib markaan warqadaas imtixaanka ku guulaysto, wadistu way ii dhib yaraanaysa.

‘oo warqad lagu qoraa’ is unnecessary.

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