Welcome to Swahili Magic! Many people inquire about how to learn Swahili or what key phrases they should know in order to converse in Swahili. So, I decided to write about it! When you’re done, you will be able to walk away with a handful of basic phrases to spark conversations!
Whether you are teaching young learners how to speak and read Swahili or want to learn some key phrases for an upcoming trip, you are in the right place!
Why do I use Kiswahili instead of Swahili? I’m glad you asked! Kiswahili is actually the more accurate term when describing the language. Swahili is what is most often used; however, Kiswahili is preferred. People who speak Kiswahili as their mother tongue refer to themselves as Waswahilis.
Learning a language isn’t just about learning the sounds and words. It’s also about learning the origins. Knowing where it comes from helps develop a love for the language!
The Kiswahili language has diverse derivations including Arabic, English, German, and Portugese, which is the result of colonization and increased trade with these countries. Not only is Kiswahili the most widely used language in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, it is also the official language (alongside English) of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. It is also spoken in Burundi, Rwanda, Mayotte, South Africa, Somalia, Congo, Mozambique, and Zaire!
How to Teach Kiswahili
One of my favorite parts of teaching the Kiswahili language is that it’s relatively easy to learn and it sounds so beautiful! What makes it so easy to learn is that the words are pronounced as they appear– phonetically.
Learning key phrases you can use when speaking Swahili will go a long way, especially when meeting locals in your travels. Demonstrating your knowledge of the language, even if it is limited knowledge, shows that you want to learn about another culture, that you are trying, and that you are respectful of another culture.
Below is a short list of basic or key phrases you can quickly learn and use right away! Try to memorize as many as you can; however, it will also be handy to have a short cheat sheet to help if you forget anything.
English / Kiswahili
Hello – jambo
How are you? – habari gani?
Goodbye – Kwaheri
Nice to meet you – nimefurahi kukuona
Yes – ndiyo
No – hapana
Thank you – asante
Please – tafadhali
Okay – sawa
Excuse me – samahani
Can you help me tafadhali – naomba msaada
My name is – jina langu ni
Bathroom – bafu
I don’t know – Sijui
I enjoy teaching Kiswahili to my students and strive to make my lessons as engaging as possible. Besides learning the basic phrases, students will also benefit from knowing the basics of the words themselves as well. To help students understand the basic foundation of Kiswahili, I created a series of products that help students understand consonants, noun classes, verbs, and vowels in Kiswahili.
Besides the products linked above, I have many other activities in my TPT store that are designed to teach Kiswahili while having fun!
Want It All?
Check out The Great Ultimate Bundle, which has 34 products for teaching Kiswahili!
I hope you have found this helpful! If you have questions or are looking for something in particular, please comment or reach out to me!
Tutaonana baadaye! (See you later!)
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