In Somali, the definite article has several forms, depending on whether the noun is masculine or feminine. Because Somali nouns are 99%  gender specific, nouns have either masculine or feminine article. This means nouns such as house, water, group, boat, sun, eye, laughter etc are  either masculine or feminine. This is not specific to singular nouns only but this rule applies to plural forms as well. (Many other languages in the world  have gendered nouns as well).

Feminine definite articles are -ta, -sha, -da. Example (barta, dusha, hooyada)

Masculine definite articles are :- ka, -ga, -ha, -ca. Example (ninka, guriga, aabaha)

Very few nouns take both forms (Faynuus ->  Faynuusta, or Faynuuska -Lamp)

Few other nouns take both forms of articles but the two words are not necessarily the same meaning or tone. (beer ->Beerka , Beerta) Beerka  is (the liver) and beerta is (the Farm).

Throughout this chapter, we will use the above fours words (dugsi, buug, qalin & tirtire) in all of our examples, for simplicity reason. At the end of the chapter, you find more examples of the different articles.

Definite Article

DugsigaThe school
BuuggaThe book
QalinkaThe pen
TirtirahaThe eraser

Definite Article – Past

Kii/gii/hii (Lasoo dhaafay)The (in the Past)
DugsigiiThe school
BuuggiiThe book
QalinkiiThe pen
TirtirihiiThe eraser



Definite Article

Ka/Ta/Sha (Jamac)The (Plural)

Possessive Article

DugsigaygaMy school
BuuggaygaMy book
QalinkaygaMy pen
TirtirahaygaMy eraser

Possessive Article – Past

Kaygii/gaygii/haygii (Lasoo dhaafay)My (in the Past)
DugsigaygiiMy school
BuuggaygiiMy book
QalinkaygiiMy pen
TirtirihaygiiMy eraser

Demonstrative Adjectives -this + noun

DugsigaanThis school
BuuggaanThis book
QalinkaanThis pen
TirtirahaanThis eraser

Demonstrative Adjectives -that + noun

DugsigaasThat school.
BuuggaasThat book.
QalinkaasThat pen.
TirtirahaasThat eraser.

Demonstrative Adjectives plural -these + noun

DugsiyaalkaanThese schools.
BuugaagtaanThese books.
QalinmaantaanThese pens.
TirtireyaalkaanThese erasers.

Demonstrative Adjectives plural -those + noun

DugsiyaalkaasThose schools.
BuugaagtaasThose books.
QalinmaantaasThose pens.
TirtireyaalkaasThose erasers.

Demonstrative Adjectives -this is + noun

Kan waaThis is
Kan waa dugsi.This is a school.
Kan waa buug.This is a book.
Kan waa qalin.This is a pen.
Kan waa tirtire.This is an eraser.

Demonstrative Adjectives -that is + noun

Kaas waaThat is
Kaas waa dugsi.That is a school.
Kaas waa buug.That is a book.
Kaas waa qalin.That is a pen.
Kaas waa tirtire.That is an eraser.

Demonstrative Adjectives -these are + noun

Kuwaan waaThese are
Kuwaan waa dugsiyaal.These are schools.
Kuwaan waa buugaag.These are books.
Kuwaan waa qalimaan.These are pens.
Kuwaan waa tirtireyaal.These are erasers.

Demonstrative Adjectives -those are + noun

Kuwaas waaThose are
Kuwaas waa dugsiyaal.Those are schools.
Kuwaas waa bugaag.Those are books.
Kuwaas waa qalimaan.Those are pens.
Kuwaas waa tirtireyaal.Those are erasers.

Conjunctions AND/OR

Qalin iyo buugA pen and a book
Qalimaan iyo bugaagPens and books
Qalin ama buugA pen or a book
Qalimaan ama bugaagPens or books

More examples

Somali WordWith Article SomaliWith Article English
MeelMeeshaThe place
CeelCeelkaThe  well
IlIshaThe  eye
GacanGacantaThe hand
GanacsiGanacsigaThe business
ShirkadShirkadaThe company
WadanWadankaThe country
MaalinMaalintaThe day
RunRuntaThe truth
DhibDhibkaThe problem
CunugCunugaThe child (M)
CunugCunugtaThe child (F)
ReerReerkaThe family
QolQolkaThe room
CuntoCuntadaThe food
SharciSharcigaThe law
ShaqoShaqadaThe work
NololNoloshaThe life
Su’aalSu’aashaThe question
LacagLacagtaThe money
HooyoHooyadaThe mother


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *