The missing piece? Grammar, mostly. It’s time for some verb conjugations.
When I’m learning a new language, I usually learn the “past tense positive” as the first verb tense. While many textbooks instinctively start with the present tense, I find that the past tense is more useful. So, that’s what I’m doing here today — past tense, here we come!
Conjugating the Past Tense
Note: The rest of this post assumes you’re already familiar with verbal pronouns in Af-Soomaali (for example “waan” is “I,” “waad” is “you,” etc). If you need a refresher, click here and scroll to the bottom.
Regular Verbs Ending in Consonants
Let’s start with the basic conjugation chart for regular verbs, ending with a consonant. The chart shows the verbal pronoun, and then the suffix attached to the verb in past tense.
|waan: : verb+ay||waannu: verb+nay|
|waad: verb+tay||weydin: verb+teen|
Frankly, that chart looks like nonsensical jargon, so let’s look at some examples as well.
|TAG (go)||KEEN (bring)||CUN (eat)||CAB (drink)|
(we went, exc.)
(we went, inc.)
(we brought, exc.)
(we brought, inc.)
(we ate, exc.)
(we are, inc.)
(we drank, exc.)
(we drank, inc.)
(you all went)
(you all brought)
(you all ate)
(you all drank)
Regular Verbs Ending in ‘i’ or ‘ee’
For verbs ending in ‘i’ or ‘ee,’ the conjugations are very, very similar, with some slight adjustments. Notice that when the suffix began with a vowel, a “y” has been added, and when the suffix began with a “t,” the suffix now begins with “s.”
|waan: verb+yay||waannu: verb+nay|
|waad: verb+say||weydin: verb+seen|
Let’s add another chart with some examples.
|AKHRI (read)||SAMEE (do/make)||KARI (cook)||QADEE (have lunch)|
(I had lunch)
(you had lunch)
(he had lunch)
(she had lunch)
(we read, exc.)
(we read, inc.)
(we did/made, exc.)
(we did/made, inc.)
(we cooked, exc.)
(we cooked, inc.)
(we had lunch, exc.)
(we had lunch, inc.)
(you all read)
(you all did/made)
(you all cooked)
(you all had lunch)
(they had lunch)
Here’s a great video to show an example of samee (do/make), conjugated in the past tense. Listen closely for the pronunciation!
Regular Verbs Ending in “o”
For verbs ending with “o,” there are two potential conjugations.
- If there are two consecutive consonants (C+C+O) before the final “o” (such as iibso/buy or guurso/marry), then the final “o” changes to an “a” when conjugated.
- If there is one vowel and one consonant (V+C+O) before the final “o” (such as noqo/become or seexo/sleep), then the final “o” is dropped with “waan,” “wey,” and “wuu” when conjugated. Verbs which end in “Y+consonant+O” (such as dhegeyso/listen) are included in this group.
There are exceptions to this dichotomy, but this is the general rule for “o-ending” verbs.
|ends with C+C+O||ends with V+C+O|
|waan: verb+aday||waan: verb+tay|
|waad: verb+atay||waad: verb+atay|
|weydin: verb+ateen||weydin: verb+ateen|
|wey: verb+adeen||wey: verb+teen|
As always, here’s a chart with some more example verbs, conjugated in the past tense.
|SEEXO (to sleep)||GUURSO (to marry)||DHIMO (to die)||JOOGSO (to stop)|
(he slept) way seexatay
(we slept, exc.)
(we slept, inc.)
(we married, exc.)
(we married, inc.)
(we died, exc.)
(we died, inc.)
(we stopped, exc.)
(we stopped, inc.)
(you all sleep)
(you all married)
(you all died)
(you all stopped)