Practicing Swahili

basicswahili

Today was the third LEAP course meeting since students chose their LEAP courses in the fall. Ms. Carmichael led the meeting and had three agenda items:

  1. Exploring this website and brainstorming how we will use it;
  2. Logistics, including visas, vaccinations, weather and clothing; and
  3. Some Swahili language practice, focusing on greetings. Listen to Lukas and Mateo practice reading both parts of the sample conversation while Ms. Carmichael shares some encouraging words:

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According to Wikipedia, Swahili, also known as Kiswahili, is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. It is a lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Basic Swahili Phrases for Travelers (source)

Browse through the list below for a few top phrases to practice before you travel to Tanzania.

Greetings

  • Hello = jambo/ hujambo/ salama
  • How are you? = habari gani
  • Fine (response) = nzuri
  • Goodbye = kwa heri/ kwa herini (more than one peson)
  • See you later = tutaonana
  • Nice to meet you = nafurahi kukuona
  • Goodnight = lala salama

Civilities

  • Yes = ndiyo
  • No = hapana
  • Thank you = asante
  • Thank you very much = asante sana
  • Please = tafadhali
  • OK = sawa
  • Excuse me = samahani
  • You’re welcome = starehe
  • Can you help me? = tafadhali, naomba msaada
  • What is your name? = jina lako nani?
  • My name is = jina langu ni
  • Where are you from? = unatoka wapi?
  • I’m from… = natokea…
  • May I take a picture? = naomba kupiga picha
  • Do you speak English? = unasema kiingereza?
  • Do you speak Swahili? = unasema Kiswahili?
  • Just a little bit = kidogo tu!
  • How do you say in Swahili? = unasemaje … kwa kiswahili
  • I don’t understand = sielewi
  • Friend = rafiki

Getting Around

  • Where is the…? = ni wapi…?
  • Airport = uwanja wa ndege
  • Bus station = stesheni ya basi
  • Bus stop = bas stendi
  • Taxi stand = stendi ya teksi
  • Train Station = stesheni ya treni
  • Bank = benki
  • Market = soko
  • Police station = kituo cha polisi
  • Post office = posta
  • Tourist Office = ofisi ya watali
  • Toilet/ bathroom = choo
  • What time is the… leaving? = inaondoka saa… ngapi?
  • Bus = basi
  • Minibus = matatu (Kenya); dalla dalla (Tanzania)
  • Plane = ndege
  • Train = treni/ gari la moshi
  • Is there a bus going to…? = kuna basi ya…?
  • I’d like to buy a ticket = nataka kununua tikiti
  • Is it near = ni karibu?
  • Is it far = ni mbali?
  • There = huko
  • Over there = pale
  • Ticket = tikiti
  • Where are you going? = unakwenda wapi?
  • How much is the fare? = nauli ni kiasi gani?
  • Hotel = hoteli
  • Room = chumba
  • Reservation = akiba
  • Are there any vacancies for tonight? = mna nafasi leo usiko? (Kenya: iko nafasi leo usiku?)
  • No vacancies = hamna nafasi. (Kenya: hakuna nafasi)
  • How much is it per night? = ni bei gani kwa usiku?

Days and Numbers

  • Today = leo
  • Tomorrow = kesho
  • Yesterday = jana
  • Now = sasa
  • Later = baadaye
  • Every day = kila siku
  • Monday = Jumatatu
  • Tuesday = Jumanne
  • Wednesday = Jumatano
  • Thursday = Alhamisi
  • Friday = Ijumaa
  • Saturday = Jumamosi
  • Sunday = Jumapili
  • 1 = moja
  • 2 = mbili
  • 3 = tatu
  • 4 = nne
  • 5 = tano
  • 6 = sita
  • 7 = saba
  • 8 = nane
  • 9 = tisa
  • 10 = kumi
  • 11 = kumi na moja (ten and one)
  • 12 = kumi na mbili (ten and two)
  • 20 = ishirini
  • 21 = ishirni na moja (twenty and one)
  • 30 = thelathini
  • 40 = arobaini
  • 50 = hamsini
  • 60 = sitini
  • 70 = sabini
  • 80 = themanini
  • 90 = tisini
  • 100 = mia
  • 200 = mia mbili
  • 1000 = elfu
  • 100,000 = laki

Food and Drinks

  • I’d like = nataka
  • Food = chakula
  • Hot/ cold = ya moto/ baridi
  • Water = maji
  • Hot water = maji ya moto
  • Drinking water = maji ya kunywa
  • Soda = soda
  • Beer = bia
  • Milk = maziwa
  • Meat = nyama
  • Chicken = nyama kuku
  • Fish = sumaki
  • Beef = nyama ng’ombe
  • Fruit = matunda
  • Vegetables = mboga

Health

  • Where can I find a… = naweza kupata… wapi?
  • Doctor = daktari/mganga
  • Hospital = hospitali
  • Medical center = matibabu
  • I’m sick = mimi ni mgonjwa
  • I need a doctor = nataka kuona daktari
  • It hurts here = naumwa hapa
  • Fever = homa
  • Malaria = melaria
  • Mosquito net = chandalua
  • Headache = umwa kichwa
  • Diarrhoea = harisha/endesha
  • Vomiting = tapika
  • Medicine = dawa

Animals

  • Animal = wanyama
  • Buffalo = nyati/ mbogo
  • Cheetah = duma/ chita
  • Cow = n’gombe
  • Elephant = tembo/ ndovuh
  • Giraffe = twiga
  • Goat = mbuzi
  • Hippo = kiboko
  • Hyena = fisi
  • Leopard = chui
  • Lion = simba
  • Rhino = kifaru
  • Warthog = ngiri
  • Wildebeest = nyumbu
  • Zebra = punda milia

Another great way to immerse yourself in Swahili is to listen to in-language broadcasting from sources like BBC Radio in Swahili, or Voice of America in Swahili.

 

Next up for the group will be a check-in with parents about this web site, vaccinations, and visa applications.

Be on the lookout for more audio diaries where we share some of our fears about our trip to Tanzania.

Follow us on social media with the hahstag #TzLEAP

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