Monday, October 8, 2012

Swahili grammar: independent relative pronoun

Amba- is an independent relative pronoun which can be used in relative clauses – in tenses where you can’t use tensed relative. Moreover, it’s increasingly used nowadays, especially in sentences where the infixes would make it difficult to understand the message.

Suffixes for classes
m-/wa-: -ye, -o – ambaye, ambao
m-/mi-: -o, -yo – ambao, ambayo
ji-/ma-: -lo, yo – ambalo, ambayo
ki-/vi-: -cho, -vyo – ambacho, ambavyo
N-: -yo, -zo – ambayo, ambazo
u-: -o, -zo – ambao, ambazo
ku-: -ko, ambako
pa-,ku-,mu-: -po, -ko, -mo – ambapo, ambako, ambamo

Examples
Mtu ambaye amekuja. – The person who has come.
Watu ambao wamekuja. – The people who have come.
Mahali ambako hakuna watu. – The place where there’s nobody.
Yule ambaye anaitwa Yusuf. – The one that is calles Yusuf.
Gari ambayo nilinunua. – The car which I bought.
Kitabu ambacho ninasoma. – The book that I read.
Nina rafiki ambaye anakaa huko Uganda. – I have a friend who lives in Uganda.
Nina rafiki ambaye jina lake ni Me’de. – I have a friend whose name is Me’de.
Mwanafunzi ambaye alifika jana ametoka Marekani. – The student who arrived yesterday comes/has come from America.

More on tensed relative particles HERE

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