Swahili: Unit 6 (Part 1) – Demonstratives and Direct Commands


By the end of this unit, you should be able to:

  • Form demonstratives for nouns in all classes
  • Give simple, direct commands
  • Master the following vocabulary: Swahili Unit 6 Vocabulary


Here’s the lecture audio, if you’d like to listen along:


Demonstratives indicate “this”, “these”, “that” and “those” objects. They are an essential grammatical tool, and a very useful device for a novice shopper in a Tanzanian market.

You’ll often use them in response to the question word gani, meaning “which.”
In Swahili,we construct demonstratives according the class of the noun being demonstrated.

Conveniently, you may find the demonstrative “this” for each noun class to be a helpful tool in memorizing/recalling noun class subject prefixes, because the ending of “this” demonstrative matches the subject prefix for its respective noun class. Take a look:

Noun Class Noun Class Prefix Example Noun 1st: “This” or “These” 2nd: “That or those” 3rd: “that or those over there” Subject Prefix
1 m- mtu huyu huyo yule a-
2 wa- watu hawa hao wale wa-
3 m- mti huu huo ule u-
4 mi- miti hii hiyo ile i-
5 (-)/ji- tunda hili hilo lile li-
6 ma- matunda haya hayo yale ya-
7 ki- kitu hiki hicho kile ki-
8 vi- vitu hivi hivyo vile vi-
9 (-) nyumba hii hiyo ile i-
10 (-) nyumba hizi hizo zile zi-
11 u- ukuta huu huo ule u-
14 u- upendo huu huo ule u-
16 [pa] mahali hapa hapo pale pa-
17 [ku] mahali huku huko kule ku-
18 [m] mahali humu humo mle m-

Some examples of demonstratives in action:
Demonstratives are generally used immediately after the noun being demonstrated (e.g. nyumba hii, or matunda haya). If you want to put special emphasis on the demonstrative, though, you can use it immediately before the demonstrated noun. So “Hii nyumba” would be akin to saying “THIS (!) house”

Nitauza maembe hayo: I will sell those mangoes

Walifungua mlango huo: They opened that door

Anataka kumwagilia miche hii: He/she wants to irrigate these seedlings

Vile vitalu vimekauka: Those nurseries have dried out

Tulijenga nyumba hizo: We built those houses 

Now let’s practice. How would you say the following? Check your answers against the audio:

This teacher is planting those seeds:

Use that toilet!

Open these windows!

Come back here (this exact place) later!


Swahili Unit 6 Worksheet

Swahili Unit 6 Worksheet Answers

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