Learn Somali Online: The Three Little Pigs
Five Cute Pigs
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.

Remember in Somali that the subject noun has to be focused with either 'waa/waxa/ayaa/baa.' For example, 'Maalin maalmaha ka mid ah hooyadood waxay ku tidhii.' Wax means 'thing' and 'ay' refers to the feminine noun. So, wax + ay = waxay

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Table of Contents

Student submitted English source text

Once upon a time there were three little pigs who lived with their mother. One day their mother told them they were old enough to live by themselves. She said “Watch out for the big bad wolf, because he will eat you.” She also told them “Build your houses nice and strong so that you will be safe from the wolf. Then she said “Good-bye my sons and good luck!”

The three little pigs then went their separate ways. The first little pig saw a man stacking straw. The first little pig asked the man “May I have some of that straw to build a house?” The man agreed and the first little pig built his house very quickly. It wasn’t a very strong house.

Student submitted translation

[Beri waxaa jiray saddex doofaaroo yaryar oo la noolayeen hooyadooda. Maalin maalmaha ka mid ah hooyodoodu u sheegtay inay korteen oo keligood nooli kartaan. Iyada bay tidhi, “Waa inaad naftaada ka ilaaliso yeyga weyn oo xun ah waayo wuxuu idiin cuni doonaa. Waxayna ku dartay, “Waa inaad dhisto aqal/guri fiican iyo xoog badan si idiin uga ilaaliso yeyga. Ka dibna way tidhi, “Nabad gelyo, wiilaasheyda, iyo nasiib fiican!”]

[Ka dibna saddex doofaarkii yaryar waxay guri hooyodooda ka soo baxdeen oo u tageen meelo kala duwan. Doofaarkii yar ugu horeysaa wuxuu arkay nin oo uruuriyay caws. Doofaarkii yar u weydiiyay ninkii, “Ma ii siin kartaa cawskaaga qaar ka mid ah? Waxaan rabaa in aan dhiso guri/aqal. Ninkii ogoolaaday. Doofaarkii yar ugu horeysaa si aad u dhaqso ah dhisay aqalkiis. Aqalkas ma ahayn xoog badan.]

Teacher’s Analysis

Well done! Good work! I understood every sentence. Just some slight grammatical changes required. See the corrections below and analysis further down.

Teacher Corrected translation

Beri waxa jirey saddex doofaar oo yar yar oo hooyadood la nool. Maalin maalmaha ka mid ah hooyadood waxay u sheegtay inay koreen iminka oo ay keligooda noolaan karaan. Waxay ku tidhi waxaad naftiina ka ilaalisaan yayga weyn oo mid xuna ah, waayo wuu idin cuni doonaa. Waxay oo kale u sheegtay inay aqal fiican dhistaan oy iska adkeeyaan si uu yeyga uga ilaaliyo. Dabadeedna way sii nabadgelyeysey, nasiib fiican baan idiin rajaynaya hooyo bay u sii raacisay.

Ka dibna seddexdii doofaar ee yaryaraa sidaas bay gurigii hooyadood kaga soo ambabaxeen oo ay tegeen meelo kala duwan. Doofaarkii kowaad oo yaraa wwuxuu arkay nin caws raseeynaya. Doofaarkii kowaad oo yaraa wuxuu ninkii weydiistay cawskaaga wax ma iga siin kartaa, waxaan rabaa inaan aqal ku dhisto? Ninkii wuu ka ogolaaday. Doofaarkii kowaadna oo yaraa ayaa aad u dhakhso badan buu aqlkii u dhistay. Aqalkaasi muu ahayn mid aad u adag.

1. Beri waxaa jiray saddex doofaaroo [doofaar – use singular]

number + singular noun

For example,

Saddex guri – Three houses

Boqol guri – A hundered houses

Kun guri – A thousand houses

10 nin – 10 men

EXCEPTION to rule above is

Boqolaal guryo – hundreds of houses

1 …oo hooyadood la nool

oo la noolayeen hooyadooda

We can’t use the verb ‘noolayeen’ because

  1. This is a passive sentence. And also
  2. The sentence contains a number of relative clauses and therefore ‘…la nool’ is correct. So we can instead say

…oo hooyadood la nool

2 Maalin maalmaha ka mid ah

Maalin maalmaha ka mid ah hooyodoodu [excellent]

just change hooyodoodu to hooyadood. Note the ‘u’ is not required with hooyadood.

u sheegtay inay korteen [good but we need to focus the head noun [hooyadood] with ‘waxay’]

Remember in Somali that every subject noun has to be focused with either ‘waa/waxa/ayaa/baa.’ For example,

Maalin maalmaha ka mid ah hooyadood waxay ku tidhii:

wax means ‘the thing’ and ‘ay’ refers to the feminine noun = waxay [focus marker]

inay korteen [Very good – just change ‘korteen’ (you plural) to koreen (they) ]

oo keligood nooli kartaan – [good – change ‘nooli’ to ‘noolaan’ because ‘nool’ is an adjectic we need to the adjectival infinitive ‘noolaan, fiicnaan, wanaagsanaan, etc.’]

Wuu soo fiicnaan doonaa – He/it will get better

Wuu soo fiicnaaday doonaa – He/it got better

Qarnigii hore ayuu noolaan jiray – “He lived in the previous century.”

inay koreen iminka oo ay keligooda noolaan karaan

3 wuxuu idiin cuni doonaa

Iyada bay tidhi, “Waa inaad naftaada ka ilaaliso yeyga weyn oo xun ah waayo wuxuu idiin cuni doonaa.” [Very good]

Iyada bay tidhi [you focused ‘iyada’ with baa – good. We can improve this phrase by replacing ‘iyada’ and the focus marker ‘bay’ with just ‘waxay’]

Waxay ku tidhi…

“Waa inaad naftaada…” [is an imperative/command whereas the mother was giving advice. so you could say]

Waxaad naftiina ka ilaalisaan…

yeyga weyn oo xun ah [excellent]

yayga weyn oo mid xuna ah,

waayo wuxuu idiin cuni doonaa. [Good – remember the ‘waxa uu (wuxuu)’ – means ‘the thing’]

wuxuu idiin cuni doonaa [means ‘the thing (that) will eat you’ whereas]

…wuu idin cuni doonaa. – means he will eat.

4. inay aqal fiican dhistaan

Waxayna ku dartay, “Waa inaad dhisto aqal/guri fiican [good]

change the singular ‘dhisto’ to the plural ‘dhistaan’ because she was speaking to more than one pig.

…inay aqal fiican dhistaan…

5. dabaylo xoog leh

iyo xoog badan

xoog badan [xoog ‘strength/strong’ is generally generally used for describing animate/moving things, i.e. people, animals, and also for a fire or a wind which could be termed as a living.

Dab xoog leh oo qabsaday goobo ganacsi oo ku yaalla magaalada Baariis.
Heavy fire engulfs businesses in the city of Paris.

Dab xooggan oo ka kacay xaafadda Masallaxa ee caasimadda Hargeysa…
Strong/heavy fire broke out in Masallaxa neighborhood of the capital Hargeisa…

Qarax xoog leh oo goor dhaw ka dhacay Muqdisho…
A srong explosion which occured recently in Mogadishu…

dabaylo xoog leh
strong winds

‘adag’ is used for describing inanimate things, e.g., house, car, etc.

guri adag – strong house

gaadhi adag – strong car

6. ‘uu’ is a pronoun referring to the house

si idiin uga ilaaliso yeyga [good attempt – this is a complex phrase and i understood what you wanted to say]

si uu yeyga uga ilaaliyo

‘uu’ is a pronoun referring to the house

7. Change ‘yaryar’ to ‘yaryaraa’

Ka dibna way tidhi, “Nabad gelyo, wiilaasheyda, iyo nasiib fiican!” [Again good sentence. You could also say]

Dabadeedna way sii nabadgelyeysey…

…nasiib fiican baan idiin rajaynaya bay u sii raacisay.

Ka dibna seddexdii doofaar ee yaryaraa sidaas bay gurigii hooyadood kaga soo ambabaxeen

We’ve changed ‘yaryar’ to ‘yaryaraa’ (past tense) because the young (pigs) were already referred to in the story.

8. Doofaarkii kowaad oo yaraa

Doofaarkii kowaad oo yaraa (again past tense) wuxuu arkay nin caws raseeynaya (stacking).

Doofaarkii yar ugu horeysaa wuxuu arkay nin oo uruuriyay caws.

Doofaarkii kowaad oo yaraa (again past tense) wuxuu arkay nin caws raseeynaya (stacking).

9. Wuxuu ninkii weydiistay

Doofaarkii yar u weydiiyay ninkii, [Good sentence – just delete the ‘u’]

Doofaarkii kowaad oo yaraa wuxuu ninkii

And changed the verb ‘weydiiyay’ – he asked – to weydiistay – He asked (for himself).

weydii – to ask

weydiiso – to ask (for oenself)

10. “Ma ii [delete an ‘i’] siin kartaa cawskaaga qaar ka mid ah?

…wuxuu ninkii weydiistay cawskaaga wax ma iga siin kartaa?

11. dhiso – to build (for oneself)

Waxaan rabaa in aan dhiso guri/aqal. [Good – change ‘dhiso’ to ‘dhisto’]

waxaan rabaa inaan aqal ku dhisto

dhis – to build

dhiso – to build (for oneself)

12. Ninkii [ka] ogoolaaday.

13. Change it to ‘Doofaarkii kowaadna…’

Doofaarkii yar ugu horeysaa si aad u dhaqso ah dhisay aqalkiis. Aqalkas ma ahayn xoog badan.]

Change to

Doofaarkii kowaadna oo yaraa ayaa aad u dhakhso badan buu aqlkii u dhistay. Aqalkaasi muu ahayn mid aad u adag.

I hope this helps.

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