Somali Household Vocabulary (22 WPD: Day 1)

If you haven’t already read about my 22 WPD Language-Learning Challenge, you can read about it here. If you’re ready to start, HERE WE GO!

Pre-Week Thoughts

It’s the beginning of week one! I’m a little bit nervous, because I’ve set myself quite a high bar (and done so quite publicly, this being a blog and all), and it’s always nerve-wracking to put myself into a situation where I might fail. But, that sort of risk is what life is all about, and I’m ready for the challenge! I’ve got 22 words to learn each day, so I should know 99 words in Somali by the end of the week.

Today’s Language-Learning Technique

We’re going to start this week with something artsy (I’m trying to make decorations for my new home) — vocabulary with pictures! I find that taking the time to draw/decorate/colour each word helps each word stick in my brain, and then I can hang the sheets on my walls (and looking at them later will help me review). Since I’m planning on hanging them on my walls, I’ll select words about my new home and my daily routine (of things I’ll do there).

The Vocabulary List

Note: I’m counting related yet distinct words (such as caday/toothbrush-noun and cadee/brush-verb) as two separate words. Suffixes, however, don’t justify counting a second word (such as dhar and dharka). Phrases which include two words count as two words (such as ilko cadee).

PS. I’ve marked the part of speech as either (n) for noun or (v) for verb.
PPS. Shoutout to u/xaayow on Reddit for helping me clarify several of today’s vocabulary words!

  • dhaq (v) = wash (1)
  • fur (v) = open (2)
  • xidh (v) = close (3)
  • dhar (n) = clothing (4)
  • dharka gash (n-v) = get dressed (5)
  • ilko cadee (n-v) = brush teeth (6-7)
  • istaag (v) = stand up (8)
  • caday (n) = toothbrush (9)
  • hurdo (v) = sleep (10)
  • gal (v) = enter (11)
  • bax (v) = leave (12)
  • guri (n) = house (13)
  • qubeyso (v) = shower/bathe (14)
  • albaab (n) = door (15)
  • sariir (n) = bed (16)
  • kac (v) = wake up (17)
  • daqaad (n) = window (18)
  • kursi (n) = chair (19)
  • musqul (n) = toilet (20)
  • fadhiiso (v) = sit (21)
  • seexo (v) = lie down/sleep (22)

Now that I’ve got the words down, it’s time to do some arts and crafts! Here’s what I came up with:

Here are the little pieces of paper I made with today’s vocabulary words! It’s 18 sheets covering 22 words. Looks nice, no? I’m excited to decorate my new home with them.

The Verdict?

Overall, I quite enjoyed this vocabulary-learning technique:

  1. Drawing pictures meant I was only writing in Somali (instead of translating), and associating the Somali words directly with the meaning, which is great.
  2. The process of drawing out the page, coloring it in, and then going back to outline everything in black meant that I was focusing on each word three separate times, for a decent duration each time. This repetition really helps me learn new vocab.
  3. I’m excited to hang the pages in my new home, and I think that seeing the words every day will help to solidify them into my long-term memory.

That being said, there are a few limitations with this technique:

  1. It’s incredibly time-consuming, and a little tedious. Definitely not the most efficient study method.
  2. Some words are simply easier to represent in an image than others. As I move into more complex vocabulary, the idea of drawing an easy picture might fall short.
  3. Not every word is going to be super relevant to my house. Sure, I can hang “sariir” above the bed, and “qubeyso” outside the shower, but not every word is going to have such an obvious connection. If I start hanging hundreds of words everywhere in my house, it’s just a recipe for mental chaos… there’s a limit to this method.


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