I am sure that I make all kinds of grammatical errors all the time in Swahili. There are things to remember that I always forget, like if the possessive agrees with the noun or did I get the right object infix stuck in that verb. But today was one of those classic mistakes that I will now always remember. My tutor today was still smirking to herself several sentences beyond my mistake in the practice.
Here’s what I was practicing, “Do you have a new map of the world?” The idea was to change the subject of you to me, us, him or her, them, you plural, etc. Anyway, the word for world is dumia. One time I accidentally said dania. Easy mistake, right, especially when I am trying to get my mouth around new words like ramani (map). The funny thing is that I know what dania is. It’s a common word from when I lived in Kenya before. It’s cilantro. I was asking for a map of cilantro!
It hit me just as funny. Maybe it loses something in translation.