Swahili Numbers: How to Count in Swahili

June 27, 2023 No Comments

A comprehensive guide to Numbers

Learning to count in Swahili not only enhances your language skills but also opens doors to understanding the cultural nuances and daily life activities of Swahili-speaking communities. Numbers play a vital role in various aspects of life, from social interactions to business transactions.

By mastering Swahili counting, you’ll be able to communicate effectively, navigate local markets, negotiate prices, and express time and age. So It’s a gateway to immersing yourself in the vibrant Swahili culture and connecting with the people on a deeper level. So Swahili counting is relatively straightforward, and with a little practice, you’ll be able to count from one to ten in no time.

Basic Swahili Numbers and Counting Rules

In Swahili, the numbers from one to ten are as follows:

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

Common Phrases and Expressions with Numbers

Numbers are used in everyday conversations to express various concepts in Swahili-speaking countries. So Here are some common phrases and expressions that will help you expand your vocabulary and understanding of Swahili counting:

  1. Saa ngapi? – What time is it?
  2. Nina umri wa miaka… – I am … years old.
  3. Nataka kununua vitu vitatu. – I want to buy three things.
  4. Ninaomba nusu kilo ya matunda. – I would like half a kilogram of fruits.
  5. Karibu ujiunge na kikundi chetu cha watu kumi. – Welcome to join our group of ten people.
    These phrases showcase how numbers are seamlessly integrated into daily conversations.

Cultural Significance of Numbers

Numbers hold significant cultural value in Swahili-speaking countries. in fact They are often associated with traditions, superstitions, and symbolism. Here are for example of how numbers are culturally significant in Swahili culture:

Lucky number 7!

Seven is considered a lucky number in Swahili culture, representing completeness and perfection. It is often associated with blessings and good fortune.

Unlucky number 13!

Many cultures, including Swahili culture, see thirteen as an unlucky number. So, it is believed to bring bad luck and people associate it with superstitions.

Do you know about the forty days?

Forty days holds religious significance in Swahili culture, particularly in Islamic traditions. It is considered a period of purification and spiritual growth. So Understanding the cultural significance of numbers adds depth to your knowledge of Swahili and allows you to appreciate the rich tapestry of traditions and beliefs in the region.

If you’d like to check out my resources on the Swahili language, please see my TPT store! There are many resources including: 

In addition to the linked products above, my TPT store offers numerous other activities designed to teach Kiswahili in a fun and engaging manner!

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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!

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I'm an elementary school teacher who loves what she does! I enjoy creating resources in my Native language "kiswahili". My goal is to spread the beautiful language of "Kiswahili" inside and outside the classroom. Thanks for stopping by! Read More

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