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Somali language rules

Unfortunately, in Somali, there seems to be no rules set especially grammar wise. It's more like what makes sense is right. Questioning the reason for particles and their significance will confuse you. There seems to be lack of resources to the language and it's mostly spoken rather than written. Of course there are schools, colleges and Uni's but the language has not been enhanced. The major problem people encounter when learning Somali are the particles; I sometimes question the use of particles and their affect on structuring a sentence but it just complicates me. What I realised is the following:

When talking about yourself the particle 'waan' is often used if not always i.e. Anigu luqada Somaliiga 'waan' jeecelyaahay meaning: I like/love the Somali language. Literally: I language Somali like/love. The 'waan' has no particular meaning it's just there. However, 'waan' comes in use if we restructure the sentence without the 'Anigu' which means 'I'. So because of 'waan' it automatically means you're talking about yourself. If we are talking about someone i.e. he/she we would use the particle 'wuu' for he and 'wey' for she. Example: Iisagu kubada 'wuu' maalinkastaa daawada-He watches football everyday. Literally, He football everyday watches.

I hope you get the idea. The grammar structure is different to English but similar to I guess Japanese/Korean. It's very complicated and doesn't follow a specific rule.

What I love about the Somali language are the words themselves; they're very intense and well sound interesting and sometimes funny! xD It seems to me that the Somali language reflects the type of people Somali's are; conversational, welcoming, laid back, funny and well the women gossipy!! The best comedy for me is the Somali because the language and the pronounications are super funny!!

I am not sure if people want to learn Somali. Although it's very tough but suprisingly I see many non-Somali's excelling in the language baring in mind they were not born in Somalia!

Practice makes perfect and it will be beneficial to chat with Somali neighbours/friends/colleagues etc. because it's the best way to learn the language since as I mentioned earlier that Somali language was created based on conversation rather than academic.

There are many things to cover but I think I wrote soooo much on here so it's a bit burdensome.

Good luck! ;)

Dec 20, 2012 1:24 AM
Comments · 1

Hi Suzy,


Like you I had the experience of knowing Japanese and Korean BEFORE I looked at Somali.  Somali initially seems an impossible language, but, with time, you soon find that it is a very flexible language and not too difficult a language.


Learning somali means you have to be flexible yourself - many words shwn in dioctionaries are not used in all parts of the country - I often find myself explaining the meaning of soem wotrds to Somalis themselves. They will then give me the  word that they use in their "dialect"!  

It's annoying at first, but because it is mostly orasl, you have to have that flexibility.

Any help I can opffer - just let me know!




nabad gelyo oo ilaa wakhtiga dambe


December 20, 2012
Language Skills
Arabic, English, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language