Yet another post devoted to the language I am learning to love. Kiswahili and I have a love-hate relationship. Although frustrating at times as I fumble to communicate exactly what I want to say and to put the words in the correct order to speak at a reasonable speed in conversations, it is a beautiful and fun language to learn. The vocabulary is so different but as you learn more and more you can actually guess at many words and phrases you have never heard. Like any language the way you say things has so much to do with the culture and the more you learn about the people and culture the better you are able to communicate. There are far less words in Kiswahili but that means many words have a variety of meanings. Challenging but always interesting!!
The word kupiga is one of my favorite verbs and deserves its own post! When we first arrived we learned the meaning as to hit or beat but as we soon learned it is also used for a ton of other phrases. Our teacher last year told us there are 51 things you can kupiga in Kiswahili!! So we have learned if we are unsure of what verb you use to explain doing something start with kupiga, most likely you’ll be right! I had to record some of my fav things you “hit”….

After our car broke down and some local guys at the market were trying to help me I learned you even “hit the fire” of a car to start it…. kupiga moto (literally to hit the fire but means start the car)

Here are some other things you “hit or beat” in Kiswahili…

kupiga deki– (to mop the floor, doesn’t it sound like on board a ship?)

kupiga tarumbeta (play a trumpet or horn)

kupiga kelele (to make lots of noise,we learned this one early on!!)

kupiga mswaki (to brush your teeth)

kupiga picha (to take a picture)

kupiga debe (to spread gossip)

kupiga sindano (to get a shot or vaccination)

kupiga makofi (to clap)

kupiga chafya (to sneeze)

kupiga miayo (to yawn)

kupiga hodi (ask for entrance, the greeting you yell when you are at some one’s door to which the response is Karibu (welcome))

kupiga pasi (iron clothes)

kupiga maji-(which literally means to hit the water but actually means to drink too much alcohol…yeah figure that out when you are first leaning a language:))

And that is only about 1/5th of the things you can kupiga…anyone know anymore please add them! I am always eager to add to my kupiga or things I can beat or hit repertoire! Ah, language learning…..

  1. Anonymous says:

    learned another today…kupiga magoti means to kneel…

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