Somali Basic Verbs Vocabulary

Another day, another new set of Somali vocabulary! Today, I’m going to learn some verbs. Eventually, I’m going to want to make sentences, and verbs are fairly important to that end.

I’m going to focus on the verbs in the imperative tense, because that appears to be the most straightforward conjugation (ie. not really conjugated at all), and because imperatives are quite magical — learn one word, and you’ve got a whole imperative sentence! Eat! Study! Speak! This (from what I’ve read) isn’t rude in Somali, even though such blunt instructions might seem strange in English.

Now, there are two types of imperatives — those given to one person, and those given to a group. In Somali, singular imperatives are just the verb, whereas plural imperatives get an /a/ added to the end of the verb.

Here’s a chart of some basic verbs (in the imperative) I’ve collected from around the internet — here’s to hoping they’re all correct, and please let me know if they’re not!

Somali (singular, to one person)Somali (plural, to a group)English
Akhri!Akhriya!Read!
Tag!Taga!Go!
Cun!Cuna!Eat!
Gal!Gala!Enter!
Qor!Qora!Write!
Joog!Jooga!Stay!
Cab!Caba!Drink!
Hadal!Hadala!Speak!
Aamus!Aamusa!Hush!
Dhiib!Dhiiba!Give!
Gee!Geeya!Take!
Sug!Suga!Wait!
Seex!Seexa!Sleep!
Dhegeys!Dhegeysa!Listen!
Kari!Kariya!Cook!
Samee!Sameea!Do! Make!
Bax!Baxa!Leave! Go out!
Noq!Noqa!Come back!
Dhaq!Dhaqa!Wash!
Eeg!Eega!Look!
Fur!Fura!Open!

Exercises

Now, we’ve got 19 vocabulary words to get stuck in the brain. I like making up exercises to practice vocabulary (making the exercise is a first review, and then actually doing the exercise is a second review) — you can either use mine, or make your own (or both)!

Exercise 1: Match the Somali words with the English translations.
  1. Eeg!
  2. Cab!
  3. Akhri!
  4. Bax!
  5. Sug!
  6. Cun!
  7. Dhaq!
  8. Joog!
  9. Dhegeys!
  10. Qor!

a. Listen!
b. Eat!
c. Look!
d. Read!
e. Leave!
f. Write!
g. Wash!
h. Drink!
i. Stay!
j. Wait!

Exercise 2: Give the Somali translation for each English word.
  1. Cook! = __________
  2. Come back! = __________
  3. Drink! = __________
  4. Speak! = __________
  5. Enter! = __________
  6. Stay! = __________
  7. Go! = __________
  8. Give! = __________
  9. Take! = __________
Exercise 3: Think of a Somali imperative you might use in the given situation (more than one answer may be possible). Make sure you’re using the correct form (either singular or plural).
  1. You’ve invited a guest over to your house, and made them lunch. You give them the plate, and then tell them, “______!”
  2. You’re taking care of your neighbour’s kids one evening, and it’s bedtime. They’re all in bed, but they keep talking and laughing. You tell them, “_____!”
  3. You’re hanging out at home, when an enormous snake starts slithering into your house. You want it to go away, and so you yell, “__________!” at it.
  4. You’re an office worker, and someone knocks on your office door. You reply by saying, “_____!”

Answers

Exercise 1: 1. c, 2. h, 3. d, 4. e, 5. j, 6. b, 7. g, 8. i, 9. a, 10. f

Exercise 2: 1. kari, 2. noq, 3. cab, 4. hadal, 5. gal, 6. joog, 7. tag, 8. dhiib, 9. geey

Exercise 3: 1. cun, 2. aamusa and/or seexa, 3. bax and/or tag, 4. gal

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