Learn Somali Online: Walaashay
girl
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.

If we say. 'Habeenkan bay keligeed joogtaa guri,' the word guri minus the definite article means house or a house, and in Somali would mean, 'This evening, she is alone in a house.' In English too, we would need to add the definite article

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Table of Contents

Student submitted English source text

My sister is fifteen years old. Her name is Stella. She is home alone this evening. Her parents are at a movie. Stella walks into her bedroom. She sees her pretty candle. It smells very sweet. Stella puts it down on her desk. Then she lights the candle. Her desk is next to an open window. Finally, Stella picks up a magazine. She likes reading by candlelight.

Student submitted translation

Walaasheydu waa shan iyo toban sano jir. Magaceedu waa Stella. Habeenkan way keli joogtaa guri. Waalidkeedu waxay ku jiraan tiyaatar filmada. Stella waxay ku lugtaa qolkeeda jiifka. Way aragtaa shumaceed quruxsan. Shumacan wuxuu leeyahay ur aad u macan. Stella bay dhigta shumacii miiska dulkiis. Ka dibna way shidaa shumacii. Miiskeedu wuxuu u dhowyahay daraashad furan. Markii ugu dambeystii, Stella qaadataa joornal. Way jeceshahay in ay joogto iftiin shumac u dhow markay akhrido.

Teacher’s Analysis

  1. Walaasheydu waa shan iyo toban sano jir.

Good sentence! It makes perfect grammatical sense.

Walaashay waa shan iyo toban jir.

walaashaydu is grammatically correct.

Note that in spoken Somali people say ‘walaashay’ my sister or ‘walaakay’ my brother

Also, ‘walaalkaa’ your brother instead of ‘walaakaaga’ or ‘walaashaa’ my sister instead of ‘walaashaadaa.’

waa shan iyo toban sano jir

Some native speakers have a habit of saying ‘sano jir’ whereas ‘sano’ is unnecessary:

‘Waa shan iyo toban jir’ is sufficient.

Immisaa jir baad tahay? How old are you?

15 jir baan ahay. I am 15 years old.

Sano (year) is implied in ‘jir.’

Although in the following sentence adding sano would be necessary:

Berigii la dilay Madaxweyne John F. Kennedy, anigu waxaan jiray 5 sano.
when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated., I was 5 years old.

2. Magaceedu waa Stella.

Yes, perfect!

3. Habeenkan way keli joogtaa guri.

Good sentence. Just need to make a few corrections.

[Habeenkan bay keligeed joogtaa guriga.]

We need to focus the noun habeen using ‘bay/ayay.’ For example,

Masaajidka buu tegay saaka. He went to the mosque this morning.

Guriga ayay ka soo baxday. She left the house.

keli

keli has to have a pronoun attached to it, keligeed, keligay, keligiis, keligood, etc.

Ma keligaad tegaysaa dukaanka? Are you going to the shop alone?
Haa keligay baan tegayaa. Yes, I’m going alone.

guri

If we say. ‘Habeenkan bay keligeed joogtaa guri,’ the word guri minus the definite article means house or a house, and in Somali would mean, ‘This evening, she is alone in a house.’ In English too, we would need to add the definite article, ‘This evening, she is alone in the house [‘This evening, she is alone at home.’

[Habeenkan bay keligeed joogtaa guriga.]

4. Waalidkeedu waxay ku jiraan tiyaatar filmada.

Good sentence. Waalid is parent and waalidiin is parents.

Waalidiinteed waxay galeen shineemada/Sinimada.

ku jiraan as opposed to galeen

Waalidiintaa xaggee tegeen? Where did your parents go?
Waxay galeen shineemada/Sinimada. They went to the cinema.

Waalidiintaa ma waxay ku jiraan dhismaha sinimada? Are your parents in the cinema building?
Haa way ku jiraan. Yes, they are.

So, ku jir is used to mean physically inside a building or room or car, etc. Wheras ‘galid’ means to be at (somewhere)

5. Stella waxay ku lugtaa qolkeeda jiifka.

[Stella waxay lugta ku tagtaa qolkeeda hurdada.] ‘lugta ku tagtaa’ meaning she goes by foot or you could say

[Stella waxay ku lugaysaa qolkeeda hurdada.] ‘ku lugaysaa’ she walks…

‘qolka hurdada’ the bedroom

Although, some native speakers use ‘qolka jiifka’ for bedroom, in my experience, most native Somali people say ‘qolka hurdada.’ for bedroom.

6. Way aragtaa shumaceed quruxsan.

Another good sentence!

Waxay aragtaa shamaceeda quruxsan (ama quruxda badan.

7. Shumacan wuxuu leeyahay ur aad u macan.

Wuxuu leeyahay ur aad u fiican – It has ….

Shamacu wuxuu leeyahay ur aad u fiican. – The candle has …

Shamacani wuxuu leeyahay ur aad u fiican. – This candle has …

8. Stella bay dhigta shumacii miiska dulkiis.

Yes an excellent attempt. Just need to rearrange the order of the words a little. For example,

[Stella waxay shamacii dhigtay miiska dushiisa.

9. Ka dibna way shidaa shumacii.

Ka dibna way shitaa shamacii.

shid – wuu shiday/way shitay – to light something
shido – wuu shitay/way shidatay – to light something for oneself

10. Miiskeedu wuxuu u dhowyahay daraashad furan.

Miiskeedu wuxuu u dhowyahay daraashad furan. – ‘u dhow’ means close to

Miiskeedu wuxuu ag yaalaa daaqad furan – ‘ag yaalaa’ means next to or ‘ku xigaa’

dariishada

‘dariishada’ is very rarely used. 99% of somalis use ‘daaqad/daaqado’ – window.

11. Markii ugu dambeystii, Stella qaadataa joornal.

Good sentence!

‘Ugu danbayntii’ – finally

[Ugu danbayntii waxay soo qaadataa joornaal.]

12. Way jeceshahay in ay joogto iftiin shumac u dhow markay akhrido.

Good sentence.

Compare the correction below that uses a verbal noun ‘ku akhrisada’ to replace ‘in ay joogto iftiin … u dhow markay akhrido’

Waxay ka heshaa ama jeclaataa ku akhrisada iftiinka shamaca.

‘ka heshaa’ – to like, is less stronger than ‘jecel’

‘ku akhrisada’ verbal noun – reading (‘ku’ – by)

‘iftiinka’ light,

I hope this helps.

All in all you’ve made really good progress. Make a mental note of noticing how verbal nouns are used in Somali texts because knowledge of their use will make your sentences far easier to construct.

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