# Confusion with Afrihili Word Machine Problem from NACLO

The Pretext

The Problem

I am referring to the third subproblem

The Data

The Confusion

The solution states that it is possible to extrapolate from the data that -ma- is used to refer to occupations. Thus, since iwelemase contains "ma", it refers to an occupation, and thus we can choose (c). But how do we know it is not simply that "m" and "a" are together by coincidence? For the suffix -sino(which is used to refer to groups, like a group of bags), it's unlikely that the letters are together by coincidence because there are so many.

Thanks.

• We need a link to the full set of data, otherwise you only have amadu ~ adu – isabamatu implies isabatu which if you know the source languages is "shoe", but othwise you can't conclude anything from this subset of the data. Dec 13, 2022 at 17:20
• In the data you’ve quoted here, there are four occupations, only two of which contain -ma-; the other two (eshuli and ijamura) are clearly related to ishule and ajamuri, but they are derived in a different way. As @user6726 says, the absence of sabatu means you can’t really conclude anything from isabamatu, so you’re left with adu ~ amadu, which allows no conclusion – the occupational element may as well be prefixed am- as infixed -ma-. Dec 13, 2022 at 18:38
• @user6726, this is the data provided. Dec 13, 2022 at 19:39
• @JanusBahsJacquet The solution states that "Nouns of profession: Infix -ma- is inserted in the penultimate position". I assume that by "nouns of profession" they mean professions where you are not a leader in something, like a principal to a school or a president to republic. Then you would switch the first and last letters. Dec 13, 2022 at 19:42
• If this is all the data they give, I would say that the exercise is fatally defective. Dec 13, 2022 at 20:25