As the clock ticks down on my departure for Somaliland, it’s about time I learned the basics of conversation (some of them, at least). My goal for today is to learn a handful of basic questions and basic answers (and to break down the grammar/vocabulary), which would be useful when meeting and greeting someone new.
As a beginner, I’m working on understanding the mechanics of these phrases, but don’t completely understand how the grammar works on each one. If you can fill in the gaps on one that I don’t seem to fully understand, please leave a comment!
|Ma nabad baa? = Is it peace?||Nabad means “peace.”|
Ma shows us that this sentence is a question.
Baa is technically a “focus marker,” but in this context effectively just means “is.”
|Nabad miyaa? = Is it peace?||Using miyaa is another way to phrase this question.|
Miyaa means “is it?”
|Waa nabad. = It is peace.||Waa means “is.”|
|Iska waraan? = How’s life? Tell me your news!||War means “news.”|
|Waa la fiicanyahay. = I’m fine.||This literally translates to the third person (ie. actually means “it is fine.”)|
Ficaan means “fine.”
Yahay is the ending added to an adjective, also effectively meaning “is.”
|Magacagu waa maxay? = What’s your name?||Magaca means “name.”|
Magacaga means “your name.”
Magacaga changes to magacagu when it is the subject of the sentence (like it is here).
Waa maxay means “what?”
|Magacaygu waa… = My name is…||Magacayga (“my name”) changes to magacaygu when it’s the subject.|
|Shaqadaadu waa maxay? = What is your work?||Shaqo means “work.”|
Shaqadaada means “your work,” and it changes to shaqadaadu when it’s the subject.
|[Macalin] baan ahay. = I am a teacher.||Macalin means “teacher” (for example).|
Baan ahay means “I am.”
|Xagee ka timid? = Where are you from?||Xagee means “where?”|
|… waxaan ka imid = I am from…||Waxaan means “I am”|
|Barasho wanaagsan = Pleased to meet you.||Baro means “learn.” Barasho is derived from that, and means “meet/acquaint.”|
Wanaagsan means “good.”
|Waan ku faraxsanahay inaan halkan joogo. = I’m happy to be here.||Joog means “stay” (or be in a place).|
Faraxsa means “happy.”
Waan means “I am.”
Halkan means “here.”
|Mahadsanid. = Thank you.||—|