Somali Writing/Documents/Speeches Vocabulary

I (strangely, to most) enjoy reading academic texts. It’s always stunning to me how much information there is on the internet, and it astounds me how easy it is to dig into some random topic, oftentimes at 2am, and quickly find yourself reading specific research from the most knowledgeable people in the world. What an era!

Oftentimes, I find myself reading academic texts about languages. While academic texts aren’t great pedagogic tools, they oftentimes contain a huge amount of really interesting vocabulary used in that language. So, my goal here is to go through an academic text (in this case, it’s Dimensions of Register Variation in Somali, by Mohamed Hared and Douglar Biber), and sort through some of the vocabulary included, making it into a more useful language-learning tool for Somali-learners.

The text itself is a really cool analysis of different variations in language and formality, and how often they’re used in different registers (comparing high school textbooks to different types of newspaper articles, speeches compared to government memos, etc.). It’s a really cool combination of the language, and mathematics — if you’re interested, would definitely recommend checking it out.

First, the article contained some useful vocabulary about written texts — here are the words I think would be most commonly used and useful for language-learners.

  1. war = news
    1. wargeysada = press
    2. ra’yiga iyo aqoonta = opinion and knowledge (title for a newspaper’s editorial page)
  2. qor = write (verb)
    1. qoraalo = writings/documents
    2. qoraalo barabagaandha = propaganda
    3. qoraalo waxbarasho = academic/educational texts (barasho = learn)
  3. warqad = letter
  4. buugta dugsiyada sare = high school textbooks
  5. suugaan = literature
  6. sheeko = stories

Next, the article contained some interesting words related to speeches and meetings — again, I’ve pulled out some vocabulary which I think would be useful to language-learners.

  1. cashar jaamcadeed = university lectures
    1. cashar = lesson (academic)
    2. jaamcada = university
  2. lakjar = academic conference lectures (this is an English cognate — “lecture”)
  3. ciyaar-tebin = sports broadcasts (ciyaar = sports)
  4. hadal raadiyo = radio broadcasts (hadal = the verb “speak”)
  5. hadal shir = meeting
    1. shir guddi = committee meeting
    2. shir qoys = family meeting

So, there you go! Happy language-learning.

Somali Bus Station Conversations

Here is a quick run-down of some essential sentences and phrases that might be useful when taking public transport.

  • Xagee tagaysaa? = Where are you going?
    (answer: ___ tagayaa = I am going to ___)
  • Gorma tagayaa? = When is it going?
    (potential answers could involve be iminka/now, maanta/today, galab/afternoon, habeen/evening, beeri/tomorrow, subax/morning, or a number plus saac/o’clock)
  • Xaggee ayaan tigidh ka soo iibsan karaa? = Where can I buy a ticket?
  • Waa immisa lacagta busku? = How much is the bus ticket (cost)?
    (the answer will probably involve numbers)
  • Immisa ayaa inoo jirta? = How far is it?
    (the answer will probably be either saacado/hours or kilometres, with numbers)
  • Ma busas kale ayaan ku baddelayaa? = Do I have to change buses?
  • Xagee ka heli kara ___? = Where can I find ___?
    (alternatively, perhaps a bit simpler: ___ meeye? = Where is ___?)
  • soco dalka = travel
  • dalxiis = visit
  • bus istob = bus stop
  • halkan = here
  • bus(ka) = bus
    (buska danbe = the next bus)
  • boyad = truck
  • gaadhi = car

As always, I am a beginner, and would appreciate any comments/corrections!

Somali Environment/Climate Vocabulary

Today’s words are about climate, environment, weather, nature, and so on.

  1. ubax = flower
  2. geed = tree
  3. daraar = cloud
  4. lama-degaan = desert
  5. kayn = forest
  6. buur = mountain
  7. roob = rain
  8. cirka = sky
  9. xiddig = star
  10. dabayl = wind
  11. hawo = air
  12. webi = river
  13. haro = lake
  14. ciid = sand
  15. bad = sea
  16. bad weyn = ocean (lit. big sea)
  17. aus = grass
  18. kulayl = hot
  19. qabow = cold
  20. bood = dust (generally)
  21. siigo = dust (as it blows up from the earth)
  22. cadceed = sun

That’s all, folks! I’m having a jamming evening writing and studying and listening to music, so I’m just going to leave this here and get back to that! Happy studying!

(More) Somali Food Vocabulary

In a previous post, I learned vocabulary for foods, mostly fruits and vegetables. Today, I’ll be expanding my repertoire to include other words related to food, such as kitchen items, flavours, and dishes.

  1. cup = bakeeri/koob
  2. fork = farogeeto
  3. spoon = malqacad
  4. knife = mindi
  5. plate = bilaydh/saxan
  6. spicy = besbaas
  7. bad = xun
  8. sweet = macaan
  9. bland = bilaa-dhadhan
  10. egg (from a chicken) = beed/ukun (plural = ukumo)
  11. egg (generally) = ugax (plural = ugxan)
  12. flour = daqiiq
  13. honey = malab
  14. oil = saliid
  15. salt = cusbo
  16. loows = peanuts
  17. cinnamon = qorfe
  18. spices = xawaash
  19. ice = baraf
  20. juice = casiir
  21. wheat = sarreen
  22. stew = sanuunad

Somali Family/People Vocabulary

Today was the first day I could actually use my Somali to express something for a given situation, which was quite exciting for me! Granted, it was simply to ask whether the juice had milk in it, but it still counts!

That being said, the word I wanted to use but didn’t know was for “daughter,” so today’s vocabulary is going to address that gap: family words!

Gendered Family Words

mother = hooyofather = aabbe
grandmother = ayeeyograndfather = awoowe
daughter = gabadhson = wiil
woman/wife = naagman/husband = nin
aunt = eeddouncle = adeer

More Family Words

person = qof
(people = dad)
child = ilmo
(children = carruur)
brother/sister = walaal
cousin = ina-abti
twins = mataano
immediate family = qoys
extended family = reer
family ties = xiddid
qabiil = clan
tol = geneology

Somali Career Vocabulary

Work, work, work, work, work! It’s a constant topic, in any language. Knowing the words to describe different careers is incredibly useful, whether during introductions or discussions.

ENGLISHAF-SOOMAALI
studentarday
teachermacalin/bare
farmerbeeralay
engineerinjineer
doctordhakhtar
politiciansiyaasi
pilotduuliye
entrepreneurganacsade
professorborofisar
lawyergaryaqaan/looyar
driverdarawal
secretaryxoghaye
accountantxisaabiye
presidentmadaxweyne
ministerwasiir
journalistsuxufi
scientistsaynisyahan
soldieraskari
carpenternijaar
writerqoraa
mechanicmakaanik
diplomatdanjire
Vocabulary words to describe different careers in Af-Soomaali

As a language learner, it’s a good idea to think about how to use vocabulary words in a sentence (eventually, if not yet). For example, career vocabulary is great for a beginning language-learner, because it can be used in grammatically simple sentences such as “I am a _____” or “she is a _____.” In that vein, here are two useful/related phrases.

ENGLISHAF-SOOMAALI
What do you do for work?
(literally “what is your job?”)
Waa maxay shaqadaadu?
I am a….… baan ahay.
Phrases to ask and answer about careers during introductions

Somali Animal Vocabulary

Today, I’m going to focus on learning some basic animals and insects in Somali. I don’t usually bring up animals in conversations, but when you’re learning a language in a rural area, people often like to point to animals and quiz you on them. It’s already happened to me twice, so I figure it’s time I knuckle down and learn these.

  1. faras = horse
  2. ri = goat
  3. dameer = donkey
  4. libaax = lion
  5. ido = sheep
  6. ey = dog
  7. yey = wild dog
  8. jiir = mouse
  9. geel = camel
  10. qorrato = lizard
  11. shimbir = bird
  12. bisad = cat
  13. qudhaanjo = ant
  14. shinni = bee
  15. kalluun = fish
  16. mas = snake
  17. kaneeco = mosquito
  18. caaro = spider
  19. maroodi = elephant
  20. balanbaalis = butterfly
  21. baranbaro = cockroach
  22. aboor = termite

Once I went through all these words with a Somali speaker (what a gift!), I drew little pictures for each one to review. My artistic standards have fallen since Day 1, where I was creating these colorful home decor items, but these sketches worked just fine for today’s purposes (and I’m not planning on hanging them on the walls). In any case, sketches are still a great way to stop translating, and start associating a word with what it means directly.

Such beautiful animals, right? I mean, check out that donkey! And that camel!?!

Somali Daily Routine Vocabulary

I am in Somaliland! Travel went smoothly, and now I’m getting settled in. I’ve realised already that because my work context is in English (compared to Ethiopia, where it was in Amharic), I’m going to have to go out of my way to practice and use Somali on a daily basis. Of course, that’s my plan — I can’t imagine spending a year here and not continuing to study and learn Somali!

In any case, I think the next set of useful vocabulary will be about daily routines. I’ve learned how to conjugate the past tense for most verbs, so I’m going to try and learn vocabulary which can be useful (in connection with that).

  1. eat (verb) = cun
  2. breakfast (verb/noun) = quraac
  3. lunch (noun) = qado
  4. dinner (noun) = casho
  5. clean (verb) = nadifiin
  6. work (noun) = shaqo
  7. work (verb) = shaq
  8. make (verb) = samee
  9. read (verb) = akhri
  10. write (verb) = qor
  11. tea (noun) = shaah
  12. flatbread (noun) = laxoox
  13. bring (verb) = keen
  14. arrive/reach (verb) = gaadh
  15. be quiet (verb) = aammus
  16. then = dabadeedna
  17. teach (verb) = bar
  18. learn (verb) = baro
  19. take (verb) = qaad
  20. be sick (verb) = bug
  21. now = imminka
  22. talk = hadal

Ta-da! Hopefully those will help me communicate about my daily routine, and things that I did.

(More) Somali Household Vocabulary

I know I’ve already done one post about household vocabulary in Somali, today’s set of vocabulary is MORE household item vocabulary.

The Vocabulary List

  1. purse = boorso
  2. pencil/pen = qalin
  3. paper = warqad
  4. water bottle = dhalada biyaha
  5. bottle = dhalo
  6. cup = koob
  7. plate = saxan
  8. fork = fargeeto
  9. spoon = qaaddo
  10. knife = mindi
  11. book = buug
  12. phone = telefoon
  13. computer = kombiyuutar
  14. table/desk = miis
  15. trash/garbage = qashin
  16. electricity = korontada
  17. water = biyo
  18. soap = saabuun
  19. candle = shumac
  20. shampoo = shamboo
  21. blanket = buste
  22. mattress = joodari/furaash

Somali Town Vocabulary

  1. restaurant = makhayaad
  2. market = suuqa
  3. school = dugsiga
  4. university = jaamacad
  5. pharmacy = farmashiyaha
  6. office = xafiiska
  7. shop/store = dukaan
  8. hotel = hoteel
  9. bar = baar
  10. police station = saldhigga booliska
  11. mosque = masaajid
  12. hospital = isbitaal
  13. intersection = isgoyska
  14. farm= beer
  15. sports field = garoonka ciyaaraha
  16. post office = xafiiska boostada
  17. government office = xafiiska dawladda
  18. jail = xabsi
  19. yard/compound = dayrka
  20. fence = deedka
  21. gate = albaab
  22. river = webi