Saturday, February 17, 2007


Swahili is the most extensively used Bantu languages spoken in many areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. Swahili is a language that developed and spread through the trading links that the coastal towns had with the interior of Africa and with the land around the Indian Ocean. The expansion of the trade routes between the island of Zanzibar, the coast and the interior gave an impetus to the use of Swahili as a means of communication between people at trading places who did not share the same ethnic languages. It is in Tanzania that the use of Swahili is widespread as most of the major trade routes went through Tanzania.


The best way to acquire good Swahili pronunciation is to imitate a native speaker.

Hakuna Matata- No Worries
Hujambo - how are you?
Sijambo - I am fine
Mchana- Day time
Chakula - Food
Twanga - Pound
Leo - Today
Jana - Yesterday
Njaa - Hunger
Maendeleo - Development/progress
Bibi - Lady
Choo - Toilet
Sipendi - I don't like
Mtalii - Tourist
Mzungu - White person
Marekani - USA
Ulaya - Europe
Pole -An expression of condolence
Tazama - Look
Kwanza - First of all

Moja 1 Sita 6
Mbili 2 Saba 7
Tatu 3 Nane 8
Nne 4 Tisa 9
Tano 5 Kumi 10


Kelli B. said...

Liz, you rock for giving us a little lesson in Swahili! Thanks! :) I will be coming back to practice and to learn more!


Hi Kelli Thanks for dropping by Saharan vibe. Be on the look out for more language classes.

mwalyoyo said...

Very nice work! I appreciate the work you do, especially the political message contained in those cartoons, well done. Also, thanks for teaching swahili in your blog, though just a few words,hope one day all over Africa Swahili will be spoken. It's believed (though not verified) that this is the "Only" non-colonial African language spoken in more than one country, in Sub Sharan area! my blog is in this language, I am a Tanzania.
Keep it up.

charles said...

This is a very blog, it has a lot of message for us all especially the african dudes that we must always preserve our traditions and beliefs for that is what has made us to be who we are at the moment. For the swahili lessons that was very nice of and i promise to always visit this site to read articles that you'll be posting.

Kirori said...

Nice Work.
I enjoyed the Swahili.

Wasini Island said...

Liz, we loooove your blog!!
Oh, greetings from East Africa on the beautiful, tranquil shores of the Indian Ocean on Kenya's South coast in Shimoni & Wasini Island -- aka the Swahili Coast. We like to feel that this region is a hidden gem amongst the world's well known tourist attractions with its abundant dolphin spotting, snorkeling, scuba diving, traditional dhow sailing opportunities as well as some of the best Swahili and seafood cuisine.

Your readers should also note that the tourists in this area contribute to the many Community Development & Eco-Tourism projects that we take part in such as Kenya Kesho, The Shimoni Slave Caves, The Year of the Dolphin, and the mystical Wasini Women's Boardwalk with a surreal coral garden. You can find about these projects in the Community section on our site.

Hope to see you in these parts some day with your camera for one of your upcoming blog posts. There's lots of great scenes to capture. :-)


- Sally & Steve Mullens

Wasini Island said...
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