Language Structure Problems

Swahili Plurals

The system of plural formation in Swahili is much more complex than is demonstrated here. This is a sample of how plurals are formed in one noun class only. Examine the data and answer the questions.

1. mtoto - child

2. watoto - children

3. msichana - girl

4. wasichana - girls

5. mgeni - visitor

6. wageni - visitors

7. mke - wife

8. wake - wives

9. mkulima - farmer

10. wakulima - farmers

a. How are plurals formed in this set of Swahili data.

b. How does this process differ from the English process of singular and plural formation?

c. Given the data as you have studied them, what can you say about a possible form such as 'ke' or 'geni'.