- Key language of communication in East Africa
- Bantu group from Niger-Congo family
- Proven to be present in 1st millenium AD
- Widely spoken but only the 1st language of 4-5 million people with ~45 million using as second language.
- National language of Kenya & Tanzania, Common in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zanzibar, Comoros, eastern Congo, southern Ethiopia, southern Somalia, northern Mozambique, northern Zambia & NW Madagascar
- Heavily influenced by:
- Arabic (‘coastal’ –> ‘Swahili’)
- Europeans spread the language inland
- English (baisikeli – basically, penseli – pencil, kompyuta – computer)
- Standard Dialect = urban Zanzabar City
- Used in Kenya & Tanzania during Precolonial times for missionaries & colonial governments to interact with locals, then used in adminstration, which led to it’s official status in the post-colonial period.
- First written by the colonialists so it is based on a Roman alphabet and spelled exactly as it sounds.
|Alphabet / Sound||English words with equivalent sound||Alphabet|
|r||run (more like a d)||ar|
|w||win||dab al yoo|
|Articles||a ___ = ua __||some ___ = ___ watu or watu ___|
|Am/is/are = ni||Am not/is not/are not = si|
|I = Mimi||We = Sisi|
Nouns: person or animal – singular = m-, plural = wa-
object – singular & plural n- / j- / no prefix
Nouns –> Adjectives:
- person or animal – singular & pleural = wa ___
- object – singular = ya, plural = za.
Doctor = Daktari
Student = Nafunzi
|I am a student doctor||Mimi ni wa nafunzi daktari.|
|We are student doctors||Sisi ni wa nafunzi daktari.|
Samahani = Excuse Me (most useful word!)
This has been your (& my) primer in Swahili. I still don’t understand most things said to me but, Thanks for watching.