Swahili: I want a baby


Senior Member
English - USA
Hello ~

I need a few words of Swahili for a novel I'm writing. The character is an American woman who has been living in Dar es Salaam. She's talking to her boyfriend: "I want a baby."

Here's what I've come up with so far: "nanatamani kitoto".

Am I close? Should I use mchanga instead of kitoto (or mtoto).

  • nataka mtoto

    You have one too many na's in your translation. If you use the second "na", the first one (i.e. the 1st person singular subject marker) ought to be "ni", as in "ninatamani", but that's a progressive form and would mean something like "I am desiring/wanting".

    The single "na" in "nataka" combines "ni" and "a", and is the simple (present) tense form, aspectually unmarked.

    As for the choice of verb, "taka" (want) is a safe choice. I suppose "tamani" might work, but you'd probably have to rewrite it entirely. It usually implies a whole state-of-affairs, e.g. "I wish for a baby to be born". You could possibly also use "hitaji" (i.e. "nahitaji mtoto"), although I'm not too sure how idiomatic that would actually sound.

    "mtoto" sound better than the diminutive "kitoto".

    An alternative might be "nataka kujifungua mtoto", meaning 'I want to give birth to a child', but that would only be sensible if spoken by a woman.
    Quite difficult for me, since I don't speak it at all! I'm lucky all I needed was a single sentence. I looked at some online Swahili sites, and the language seems very interesting.
    "Baba... tupate mimba..."

    Say it like that. It sounds more like an African couple talking to each other. Maybe it sounds more romantic... I'm not sure what you're going after in the book.

    Tu + ...e = lets.
    pata = get.
    mimba = pregnancy, or literally a developing fetus.