Somali Grammar

Welcome to the 8th lesson about Somali grammar. We will first learn about prepositions, negation, questions, adverbs, and pronouns including: personal, object and possessive pronouns.

We will start with prepositions. In general, they are used to link words to other words. For example: I speak Somali and English the preposition is [and] because it connects both words Somali and English. The following is a list of the most used prepositions in Somali.

Prepositions
Somali
and
iyo
above
kor
under
hoos
before
hor
after
dib
in front of
ka hor
behind
ka gadaal
far from
ka fog
near
dhow
in
dhex
inside
gudaha
outside
dibadda
with
ku jira
without
la'aan
about
ku saabsan
between
u dhexeeya
but
laakiin
for
u ah
from
ka
to
ku

Preposition Grammar Rules

The following examples use prepositions in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Prepositions + Rules
Somali
I eat without a knife
[preposition + noun]
waxaan cunaa middi la'aan
she lives near the church
[verb + preposition]
waxay ku nooshahay meel kaniisadda u dhow
he is taller than her
[adjective + preposition]
wuu ka dheeryahay iyada
he came with his small dog
[preposition + pronoun]
wuxuu la yimid eygiisii yaraa
can you come with me?
[preposition + pronoun]
ma i soo raaci kartaa?

Negation in Somali

Now let's learn how to make a negative sentence (negation). For example: Saying no, I can't, I don't ... The following examples use negation in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Negation + Rules
Somali
I understand you
[affirmative form]
waan ku fahmay
I don't understand you
[negation + verb]
kuma fahmin
this is not the correct word
[negation + adjective]
kani ma ahay erayga saxda ah
don't leave me
[imperative negation]
ha iga tagin
no problem
[negation + noun]
dhib ma leh

Negative Sentences
Somali
I don't speak French
[negation + present tense]
kuma hadlo faransiis
she didn't visit Germany
[negation + past tense]
maysan booqan jarmal
he cannot see us
[negative modal verb]
nama arki karo
can't she play chess?
[interrogative negation]
miyaanay ciyaari karin shax
we will not come late
[negation + future tense]
ma soo daahi doonno

Questions in Somali

Now let's learn how to ask questions (interrogative). Such as: what, why, can you ...? Here are some common examples:

English
Somali
how?
see
what?
maxay
who?
kee
why?
sababtee
where?
halkee

More of the interrogative form, now in a sentence:

Questions + Rules
Somali
where do you live?
[interrogative + verb]
halkee ku nooshahay
does she speak Chinese?
[interrogative verb]
miyay ku hadashaa af shiineys
how much is this?
[interrogative preposition]
waa imisa kani
can I help you?
[interrogative modal verb]
ma ku caawiyaa
what is your name?
[interrogative preposition]
magacaa

Adverbs in Somali

It's time to learn the adverbs in Somali. But what is an adverb? In general, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. For example: You speak fast. The adverb is [fast] because it describes the verb and answers the question how do you speak?. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Adverbs
Somali
now
hadda
yesterday
shalay
today
maanta
tonight
caawa
tomorrow
berri
soon
durba
quickly
dhaqso
slowly
tartiib
together
wada jir
very
aad
almost
ku dhowaad
always
abid
usually
inta badan
sometimes
mararka qaar
rarely
dhif
never
marna

The following examples use the adverbs in different ways and places to demonstrate how it behaves in a sentence.

Adverbs + Rules
Somali
do you understand me now?
[pronoun + adverb]
hadda ma i fahamtay
I need help immediately
[noun + adverb]
waxaan u baahnahay caawin degdeg ah
she is very intelligent
[adverb + adjective]
aad bay u caqli badan tahay
I will always love you
[verb + adverb]
waan ku jeclaan doonaa abid
can we learn German together?
[adverb in a question]
ma isla baran karnaa jarmal

Pronouns in Somali

We're almost done! This time we will learn the pronouns in Somali. In general, a pronoun can be used instead of a noun. For example instead of saying my teacher speaks 3 languages, you can use the pronoun he, and say he speaks 3 languages. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Personal Pronouns
Somali
I
aniga
you
adiga
he
asaga
she
iyada
we
annaga
they
iyaga

Object Pronouns
Somali
me
ani
you
adi
him
asaga
her
iyada
us
annaga
them
iyaga

Possessive Pronouns
Somali
my
kayga
your
kaaga
his
kiisa
her
keeda
our
keena
their
kooda

I think it's better to put the above example in a sentence to better assist you. The following examples use pronouns in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence. We will start with the personal pronouns.

Personal Pronouns
Somali
I am your friend
[1st pronoun + verb]
anigu waxaan ahay saaxiibkaa
you speak very fast
[2nd pronoun + adverb]
adigu boobsiis aad ah baad u hadashaa
he has three dogs
[3rd pronoun + verb]
wuxuu leeyahay saddex ey
she can speak German
[3rd pronoun + verb]
iyadu way ku hadashaa jarmalka
we will not come late
[1st plural pronoun]
innagu ma soo daahayno
they bought milk and bread
[3rd plural pronoun]
iyagaa soo gatay caano iyo rooti

The object pronoun is used as a target by a verb, and usually come after that verb. For example: I gave him my book. The object pronoun here is him. Here are more examples:

Object Pronouns
Somali
can you tell me your name?
[1st object pronoun]
ma ii sheegi kartaa magacaaga
I will give you money
[2nd object pronoun]
lacag baan ku siin doonaa
she wrote him a letter
[3rd object pronoun]
warqad bay u qortay isaga
they visited her yesterday
[3rd object pronoun]
shalay bay booqdeen iyada
can she help us?
[1st pl. object pronoun]
miyay iyadu na caawin kartaa
he gave them food
[3rd pl. object pronoun]
cunto ayuu iyaga siiyey

Possessive Pronouns
Somali
my name is Maya
[1st possessive pronoun]
magacaygu waa maya
your brother lives here
[2nd possessive pronoun]
walaalkay ayaa halkan ku nool
her mother cooks for us
[3rd possessive pronoun]
hooyadeed ayaa cuntada noo karisa
his hobby is reading books
[3rd possessive pronoun]
balwaddiisu waa in uu aqriyo buugta
our dream is to visit Paris
[1st pl. possessive pronoun]
riyadeenu waa in aan booqano paris
their house is not far
[3rd pl. possessive pronoun]
gurigoodu ma foga

One more thing you need to know is the demonstrative pronouns. They're very easy to learn.

Demonstrative Pronouns
Somali
this is my house
kani waa gurigeyga
that restaurant is far
makhaayaddaasi way fog tahay
these apples are delicious
tufaaxyadaani way macaan yihiin
those stars are shiny
xiddigahaasi way dhalaalayaan

I hope you learned a lot about the Somali grammar in this lesson. If you have any question about this lesson please contact me here. The next lesson is below, have fun!

Somali Phrases   Somali Phrases

Somali Vocabulary   Somali Vocabulary



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Inspirational Quote: First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Epictetus