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Anyone know why Somali English learners repeat the subjects, like "The teacher she was nice." ??

asked 2015-04-24 19:25:03 -0400

kristenthorn gravatar image

I'm interested in resumptive pronouns and this is a common error in Somali L2 writing. Any idea why they do this? If you speak Somali, can you think of a reason why students would do this? Does it sound more like Somali?

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answered 2015-05-14 06:37:05 -0400

There could be two reasons for Somali English:

              a) The native language structure will have a system of not having neuter gender. So, the Somalians might be using a personal pronoun to denote the gender of teacher by "she."

             b) The language might be having a system of using the pronoun compulsorily in the sentence structure.

If you want further details, you can contact me on or leave message on FB account - COMMUWAY TRAINENT.

Hope, these suggestions might help you theoretically, but the end result is how you execute them in the real classroom environment.

Awaiting your response,

With regards


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answered 2015-04-30 12:56:01 -0400

The sentence, "The teacher she is nice" means Macalimadda iyada way fiican tahay. In Somali Language "iyada" means (She) and "way" means (is) but "way" is only used with (She) in Somali. So you can leave "iyada" because For example: "She is nice =(Iyada Way fiican tahay) Also She is nice = (Way fiican tahay) with out the "she" In English it wouldn't make sense to say (is nice) to referring to a (women) because (is) is also used with he and it and also it is not a complete sentence. Since the Somali "she" is sometimes optional, someone may assume the same for English and add it or leave it. I hope I make sense :)

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So if I'm understanding this answer correctly, this means 'macalimadda' = teacher, 'iyada' = she, 'way' = is, and 'fiican tahay' = nice, and both of the following are grammatical: 1) Macalimadda way fiican tahay. [Teacher is nice] 2) Macalimadda iyada way fiican tahay. [Teacher she is nice]

usagi5886 gravatar imageusagi5886 ( 2015-05-02 09:39:35 -0400 )edit

Sorry, my answer way confusing. Macalimadda way fiican tahay. = Teacher is nice. (Correct) Macalimadda iyada way fiican tahay = Teacher she is nice.(Unnecessary usage of "iyada") because [way fiican tahay] alone means [She is nice]

learnsomali_com gravatar imagelearnsomali_com ( 2015-05-02 13:54:25 -0400 )edit

answered 2015-07-18 14:56:20 -0400

Somali ELs repeat the subject pronouns because the Somali language has a heavy emphasis on gender. Everything is gendered. "The teacher is good" could translate either into " Macallimadda way fiican tahay" for a female and "Macallinka wuu fiican yahay" for a male teacher. "WAY" means "she" and "WUU" means "he". The Verb to be (tahay or yahay) has to agree with these gender-based pronouns- "way tahay" and "wuu yahay." The table, door, pen, etc are all masculine. You would say "miiska wuu fiican yahay; albaabka wuu fiican yahay and qalinka wuu fiican yahay". The same is true of every feminine noun.

If you would like to become more effective in teaching Somali speakers, I would advise you to enroll for a Somali class in your community. There is one Somali class that is available online at the Ohio State University. It is worth the cost and it is convenient.

Best of luck.

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Asked: 2015-04-24 19:25:03 -0400

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Last updated: Jul 18 '15