Swahili is mainly spoken in East Africa by approximately 50 million people in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. In Tanzania and Kenya it is the official national language. However, for most people who speak Swahili it is not their native language. That's it for just 5 million of the said 50 million speakers.
Photo:Slashme Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made
Swahili, called Kiswahili by the Tanzanians (the preposition "ki" indicates that it concerns a language), is still used in primary education, among other things. English is also widely used, including in secondary and higher education, in parliament and on official occasions.
Swahili is a mixed language of original bantu languages, strongly influenced by Arabic, Portuguese and Hindi. Swahili used to be a lingua franca or common trade language. The word Swahili comes from the Arabic "sawa hili", which means "from the coast".
Swahili has fifteen dialects of which Kiunguja is the most common. Other dialects include Kimvita, Kiamu, Kipemba, Kimtang'ata, Kimrima, Kiamu, Kipate, Kisiu, Kitikuu, Kivumba, Kingwana and Kingozi, a literary dialect used in classical Swahili poetry.
Special about Swahili is that every letter is pronounced, regardless of whether it is part of a group of consonants. If a letter is written twice, it is also spoken twice. In Swahili, the emphasis is almost always on the second to last syllable.
Furthermore, all tribes have their own language.
Some Swahili Words and Phrases
hello - hujambo
good morning - habari ya asubuhi
good night - lala salama
yes - ndiyo
no - hapana
doctor - daktari
bicycle - baiskeli
ketchup - tomato sos
sugar - sukari
coffee - kahawa
milk - maziwa
Monday - Jumatatu
Sunday - jumapili
a - moja
two - mbili
three - tatu
ten - kumi
one hundred - mia
thousand - elfu
yesterday - jana
tomorrow - kesho
what time is it? - saa ngapi?
the day after tomorrow - kesho kutwa
do you speak English? - unasema Kiingereza
Click the menu button at the top left of the screen for more information
Heale, J. / Tanzania
Vlugt, B. / Kenia, Tanzania, Zanzibar
Waard, P. de / Reishandboek Tanzania
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country Profiles
Copyright: Team Landenweb