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Swahili for Summiteers
Swahili for Summiteers

              This guide is part of your welcome kit to the Global Voices Summit 2012
It aims at providing you words and expressions that might be useful during your stay in Nairobi
            Why don’t you try it out? Come on, don’t be shy (: We bet you’ll love it!
                                                       Karibu!



    Swahili

   Swahili is a lingua franca that is spoken by more than 120 million people in East Africa. It’s roots date back cen-
   turies. It developed as people from different parts of the world encountered for various purposes, mainly trade.
   The interaction between the Arab world and East Africa has contributed significantly to the development of the
   language. This interaction was not only limited to these two sides sides. There are historical accounts showing
   that people from as far as China visited the East African coast in around 2nd Century AD.



   So, you one who learns about the language will find that there is influence from all these places -- in terms of
   vocabulary items, culture and architecture. However, the main composition of vocabulary items comes from the
   local languages (mainly Bantu) and Arabic. The ratio can roughly be 65:35.



   The language has many dialects. The kind of Kiswahili spoken along the coast of East Africa - Lamu, Malindi,
   Mombasa, Tanga, Zanzibar -- is slightly different from the one spoken in Mainland Tanzania. In Kenya, and Nairobi
   in particular, there is another dialect. The Comoro Islands also have their own Swahili dialects. All in all there is
   Standard Swahili.



   So, irrespective of the differences from one dialect to the other, people still communicate. Swahili in Nairobi has
   been very much influenced by English-this form of swahili or street slang is known as “Sheng” . The reason is
   almost everyone there communicates in English. In recent years, Swahili was taken up by the African Union as
   another of its official languages. The language is continuously growing in popularity and coverage.



   So, roughly, Kiswahili is spoken in the following areas: Tanzania (Both Mainland and Zanzibar) 99%; Kenya, parti-
   cularly the southern half of the country; Uganda (people still relate it as the language of oppression because Idi
   Amin’s soldiers used it to communicate = however, things are beginning to change now); Northern provinces of
   Mozambique; Northern parts of Malawi; Northern parts of Zambia; Eastern provinces of the Democratic Repu-
   blic of Congo; Burundi and Rwanda. In all these countries and areas one should be able to communicate in
   Kiswahili -- even at the rudimentary level.
Swahili for Summiteers
                                                                                   3




 Pronunciation in Swahili                                 Personal Pronouns and their Swahili Equivalents


Pronunciation in Swahili follows more or less the same   I = Mimi
formula as in Italian. The vowels are pronounced the     You = Wewe
way they are written and so do the consonants.
                                                         He/She = Yeye (Swahili does not differentiate gender
For example the sound A in BABA is similar to the A in   here)
PAPA. (Please note Papa is also a Swahili word with      It = kile
two meanings: a shark (ocean creature) and Pope
(Catholic leader).                                       We = Sisi
                                                         You = Nyinyi/Ninyi
E sound is similar to E sound in PEN.                    They = Wao
 
I sound is similar to I in INK.
                                                         My = yangu
O sound is similar to O in COMMON.                       Your = yako
 
U sound is similar to U in POUND.                        His/Hers = yake
                                                         Its = yake
                                                         Our = yetu
 Relations
                                                         Your = yenu
Father = Baba                                            Their = yao
Mother = Mama
Brother = Kaka                                           Examples:
Sister = Dada
Husband = Mume                                           My friend = Rafiki yangu
Wife = Mke/Bibi (second is mostly used in Kenya)         Your friend = Rafiki yako
Grandfather = Babu                                       His/her friend = Rafiki yake
Grandmother = Bibi (Tanzania) / Nyanya (Kenya)           Its friend = Rafiki yake
Uncle = Mjomba                                           Our friend = Rafiki yetu
Aunt = Shangazi
                                                         Your friend = Rafiki yenu
Friend = Rafiki
                                                         Their friend = Rafiki yao
Neighbour = Jirani



 Sentence Construction is a Bit Complicated in Swahili

I have a book = Nina kitabu
The word NINA shows the subject (NI = I), the act of possessing (NA) and the time (simple present) and then
the object book

We will go to the summit = Tutakwenda kwenye mkutano
(TU = We) (TA = time = future) (Kwenda = go = main verb)

I read a book = Nilisoma kitabu
(NI = I) (LI = time = simple past) (Soma = read = main verb)
Swahili for Summiteers
                                                                                     4




 Tourist Information                                      Citizen Media Vocabulary


Yes = Ndio                                               Blog = blogu
No =  la, hapana                                         Blogger = mwanablogu
I´m lost = Nimepotea                                     Blogosphere = ulimwengu wa wanablogu
Which way to the airport / hotel = Naomba unielekeze
                                                         Citizen media = vyombo vya habari vya kiraia
Namna ya kufika uwanja wa ndege/hotelini
I´m staying at Pride Inn hotel = Nimefikia Hoteli ya      Freedom of expression = uhuru wa maoni / uhuru wa
Pride Inn                                                Kujieleza
Could you please help me? = Unaweza kunisaida ta-        Global Voices = Sauti za ulimwengu
fadhali                                                  Censorship = udhibiti
Spoon = Kijiko
                                                         Empowerment = kuwezeshwa
Fork = uma
Knife = Kisu                                             Translator = mtafsiri
Food = Chakula                                           Podcast = podikasti
Beverage = vinywaji                                      Upload = pandisha
Drink = Kunywa                                           Video = video
Water = Maji                                             Audio = ya sauti
North, South, East, West = Kaskazini Kusini, Mashariki
                                                         Volunteer = mtu anayejitolea
magharibi
This is expensive = Hii ni ghali sana                    Mainstream = vikuu
This is cheap = Hii ni nafuu sana                        Media = vyombo vya habari
How much does it cost? = Unauza shilingi ngapi?          Divide = gawanya
from which country are you? = Unatoka nchi gani?         Conversation = mazungumzo
I come from (name of country) = Ninatoka (China,
                                                         Manifesto = ilani
India, UK etc)
                                                         Summit = mkutano
Hotel = hoteli
Restaurant = mkahawa                                     Subtitles = maandishi/maelezo
Tea = chai                                               Twitter = Twita
Coffee = kahawa                                          Facebook = Facebook
Milk = maziwa                                            Tweets = Twiti
Soda = soda
                                                         Website = Tovuti
Beer = bia/pombe
Taxi = Taksii                                            Email = baruapepe
Commuter bus = Matatu (in Nairobi), Daladala (in Dar     Computer = kompyuta / Tarakilishi
es Salaam)                                               Password = nywila / neno la siri
Bar = baa                                                Citizen Media = uandishi wa habari wa kiraia
Shillings(Kenyan Currency) = Shillingi
Tourist = Mtalii
Swahili for Summiteers
                                                            5




 Numbers                            Days of the Week


One = Moja                         Monday = Jumatatu

Two = Mbili                        Tuesday = Jumanne
                                   Wednesday = Jumatano
Three = Tatu
                                   Thursday = Alhamisi
Four = Nne
                                   Friday = Ijumaa
Five = Tano                        Saturday = Jumamosi
Six = Sita                         Sunday = Jumapili

Seven = Saba

Eight = Nane                        Months
Nine = Tisa
                                   January = Januari
Ten = Kumi
                                   February = Februari
                                   March = Machi
Twenty = Ishirini                  April = Aprili

Thirty = Thelathini                May = Mei
                                   June = Juni
Forty = Arobaini
                                   July = Julai
Fifty = Hamsini                    August = Agosti
Sixty = Sitini                     September = Septemba
                                   October = Oktoba
Seventy = Sabini
                                   November = Novemba
Eighty = Themanini
                                   December = Desemba
Ninety = Tisini

One Hundred = Mia moja
                                    Seasons

One Thousand = Elfu moja           Winter (Cold) = Majira ya baridi
Ten Thousand = Elfu Kumi           Summer (warm/hot) = majira ya joto

One Hundred Thousand = laki moja   Rainy season = majira ya mvua
                                   Dry season = majira ya ukame
One Million = Milioni moja
Swahili for Summiteers
                                                                                           6




 Slang & Bad Words                                             Being Kind


Slang                                                         Good morning = Habari za asubuhi
Hi = Sasa, Niaje, Mambo                                       Good afternoon = Habari za mchana
Hi (responding to above) = Fit, Fiti, Poa, Fit sana
                                                              Good night =  Usiku mwema
Foreigner = Mlami
                                                              How nice of you = umekuwa mkarimu sana/mmekuwa
Money = Ganji, Niado, Doh
Bribe = Kitukidogo                                            wakarimu sana
Bad Words                                                     What a beautiful day = Siku imekuwa njema/nzuri sana
Get lost = Ishia, wachana na mimi                             Please = Tafadhali
You are bothering me = unanisumbua                            Thank you = Asante
Stop bothering me = usinisumbue
                                                              What time is it?  = Ni saa ngapi?

 Locations                                                    I love you = ninakupenda
                                                              I miss you = nina hamu na wewe
My room = Chumba changu
                                                              Would you go on a date with me? = Tunaweza kutoka
Bathroom = Bafu
                                                              pamoja?
Loo choo/msalani
Market = sokoni                                               How are you? = Hujambo?
Hotel = hoteli                                                Good, well = safi, nzuri
Cafe = Mkahawa                                                My name is = Jina langu ni
Club = Klabu                                                  What is your name? = Jina lako ni nani?
Disco = Disco
                                                              I want = ninataka
Please take me to (location) = Naomba unipeleke
                                                              Would you like to dance = Ungependa kudensi
Where are we?/where is this place? = Tuko wapi?
Are we lost? = Tumepotea?                                     You look very attractive = wavutia sana, wewe ni
No problem = hakuna matata / hakuna tabu/ hakuna              mrembo sana
shida                                                         Would you like a drink = ungependa kinywaji
                                                              What do you take/drink = Wewe hutumia/hunywa nini
 Kiswahili or Swahili?
                                                              Beer or water or wine = pombe au maji au mvinyo
According to The Kamusi Project,"Swahili" is the English I need = ninahitaji
term for the Swahili language, while "Kiswahili" is the Swahili
language term for the Swahili language.                         I would like = Naomba
                                                                I am looking for = Ninatafuta
ki = language u = place m = person wa = people
                                                                Bye bye = kwa heri
Kiswahili = Swahili language                                  Hi, hello = Mambo! , Salama?
                                                              I’m ok/cool = Niko poa
Uswahili = Swahili speaking area
                                                              How much is it? = Ni pesa Ngapi
Mswahili = Swahili speaking person                            My change/balance is = Change yangu ni

Waswahili = Swahili speaking people
Swahili for Summiteers
                                                          7




 Kiswahili song with translation
 Artist: Fadhili Williams
 Song: Malaika

Malaika, nakupenda malaika         Angel, I love you Angel.
Malaika, nakupenda malaika         Angel, I love you Angel.
Nami nifanyeje, kijana Mwenzio     And I, your young lover, what can I do.
nashindwa na mali sina we,         I can’t as I don’t have wealth
ningekuoa malaika                  I would have married you Angel.
nashindwa na mali sina we,         I can’t as I don’t have wealth
ningekuoa malaika                  I would have married you Angel.


kidege, hukuwaza kidege            Little bird, I dream of you little bird.
kidege, hukuwaza kidege            Little bird, I dream of you little bird.
Nami nifanyeje, kijana Mwenzio     And I, your young lover, what can I do.
nashindwa na mali sina we,         I can’t as I don’t have wealth
ningekuoa malaika                  I would have married you Angel.
nashindwa na mali sina we,         I can’t as I don’t have wealth
ningekuoa malaika                  I would have married you Angel.


pesa za sumbua roho yangu          Money is troubling my soul
pesa za sumbua roho yangu          Money is troubling my soul
nami nifanyeje,kijana mwenzio ,    And I, your young lover, what can I do,
nashindwa na mali sina we,         I can’t as I don’t have wealth
ningekuoa malaika                  I would have married you Angel.
nashindwa na mali sina we,         I can’t as I don’t have wealth
ningekuoa malaika                  I would have married you Angel.


Malaika, nakupenda malaika         Angel, I love you Angel.
Malaika, nakupenda malaika         Angel, I love you Angel.
Nami nifanyeje, kijana Mwenzio     And I, your young lover, what can I do.
nashindwa na mali sina we,         I can’t as I don’t have wealth
ningekuoa malaika                  I would have married you Angel.
nashindwa na mali sina we,         I can’t as I don’t have wealth
ningekuoa malaika                  I would have married you Angel.

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Swahili For Summiteers

  • 2. Swahili for Summiteers This guide is part of your welcome kit to the Global Voices Summit 2012 It aims at providing you words and expressions that might be useful during your stay in Nairobi Why don’t you try it out? Come on, don’t be shy (: We bet you’ll love it! Karibu! Swahili Swahili is a lingua franca that is spoken by more than 120 million people in East Africa. It’s roots date back cen- turies. It developed as people from different parts of the world encountered for various purposes, mainly trade. The interaction between the Arab world and East Africa has contributed significantly to the development of the language. This interaction was not only limited to these two sides sides. There are historical accounts showing that people from as far as China visited the East African coast in around 2nd Century AD. So, you one who learns about the language will find that there is influence from all these places -- in terms of vocabulary items, culture and architecture. However, the main composition of vocabulary items comes from the local languages (mainly Bantu) and Arabic. The ratio can roughly be 65:35. The language has many dialects. The kind of Kiswahili spoken along the coast of East Africa - Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa, Tanga, Zanzibar -- is slightly different from the one spoken in Mainland Tanzania. In Kenya, and Nairobi in particular, there is another dialect. The Comoro Islands also have their own Swahili dialects. All in all there is Standard Swahili. So, irrespective of the differences from one dialect to the other, people still communicate. Swahili in Nairobi has been very much influenced by English-this form of swahili or street slang is known as “Sheng” . The reason is almost everyone there communicates in English. In recent years, Swahili was taken up by the African Union as another of its official languages. The language is continuously growing in popularity and coverage. So, roughly, Kiswahili is spoken in the following areas: Tanzania (Both Mainland and Zanzibar) 99%; Kenya, parti- cularly the southern half of the country; Uganda (people still relate it as the language of oppression because Idi Amin’s soldiers used it to communicate = however, things are beginning to change now); Northern provinces of Mozambique; Northern parts of Malawi; Northern parts of Zambia; Eastern provinces of the Democratic Repu- blic of Congo; Burundi and Rwanda. In all these countries and areas one should be able to communicate in Kiswahili -- even at the rudimentary level.
  • 3. Swahili for Summiteers 3 Pronunciation in Swahili Personal Pronouns and their Swahili Equivalents Pronunciation in Swahili follows more or less the same I = Mimi formula as in Italian. The vowels are pronounced the You = Wewe way they are written and so do the consonants.   He/She = Yeye (Swahili does not differentiate gender For example the sound A in BABA is similar to the A in here) PAPA. (Please note Papa is also a Swahili word with It = kile two meanings: a shark (ocean creature) and Pope (Catholic leader). We = Sisi   You = Nyinyi/Ninyi E sound is similar to E sound in PEN. They = Wao   I sound is similar to I in INK.   My = yangu O sound is similar to O in COMMON. Your = yako   U sound is similar to U in POUND. His/Hers = yake Its = yake Our = yetu Relations Your = yenu Father = Baba Their = yao Mother = Mama Brother = Kaka Examples: Sister = Dada Husband = Mume My friend = Rafiki yangu Wife = Mke/Bibi (second is mostly used in Kenya) Your friend = Rafiki yako Grandfather = Babu His/her friend = Rafiki yake Grandmother = Bibi (Tanzania) / Nyanya (Kenya) Its friend = Rafiki yake Uncle = Mjomba Our friend = Rafiki yetu Aunt = Shangazi Your friend = Rafiki yenu Friend = Rafiki Their friend = Rafiki yao Neighbour = Jirani Sentence Construction is a Bit Complicated in Swahili I have a book = Nina kitabu The word NINA shows the subject (NI = I), the act of possessing (NA) and the time (simple present) and then the object book We will go to the summit = Tutakwenda kwenye mkutano (TU = We) (TA = time = future) (Kwenda = go = main verb) I read a book = Nilisoma kitabu (NI = I) (LI = time = simple past) (Soma = read = main verb)
  • 4. Swahili for Summiteers 4 Tourist Information Citizen Media Vocabulary Yes = Ndio Blog = blogu No =  la, hapana Blogger = mwanablogu I´m lost = Nimepotea Blogosphere = ulimwengu wa wanablogu Which way to the airport / hotel = Naomba unielekeze Citizen media = vyombo vya habari vya kiraia Namna ya kufika uwanja wa ndege/hotelini I´m staying at Pride Inn hotel = Nimefikia Hoteli ya Freedom of expression = uhuru wa maoni / uhuru wa Pride Inn Kujieleza Could you please help me? = Unaweza kunisaida ta- Global Voices = Sauti za ulimwengu fadhali Censorship = udhibiti Spoon = Kijiko Empowerment = kuwezeshwa Fork = uma Knife = Kisu Translator = mtafsiri Food = Chakula Podcast = podikasti Beverage = vinywaji Upload = pandisha Drink = Kunywa Video = video Water = Maji Audio = ya sauti North, South, East, West = Kaskazini Kusini, Mashariki Volunteer = mtu anayejitolea magharibi This is expensive = Hii ni ghali sana Mainstream = vikuu This is cheap = Hii ni nafuu sana Media = vyombo vya habari How much does it cost? = Unauza shilingi ngapi? Divide = gawanya from which country are you? = Unatoka nchi gani? Conversation = mazungumzo I come from (name of country) = Ninatoka (China, Manifesto = ilani India, UK etc) Summit = mkutano Hotel = hoteli Restaurant = mkahawa Subtitles = maandishi/maelezo Tea = chai Twitter = Twita Coffee = kahawa Facebook = Facebook Milk = maziwa Tweets = Twiti Soda = soda Website = Tovuti Beer = bia/pombe Taxi = Taksii Email = baruapepe Commuter bus = Matatu (in Nairobi), Daladala (in Dar Computer = kompyuta / Tarakilishi es Salaam) Password = nywila / neno la siri Bar = baa Citizen Media = uandishi wa habari wa kiraia Shillings(Kenyan Currency) = Shillingi Tourist = Mtalii
  • 5. Swahili for Summiteers 5 Numbers Days of the Week One = Moja Monday = Jumatatu Two = Mbili Tuesday = Jumanne Wednesday = Jumatano Three = Tatu Thursday = Alhamisi Four = Nne Friday = Ijumaa Five = Tano Saturday = Jumamosi Six = Sita Sunday = Jumapili Seven = Saba Eight = Nane Months Nine = Tisa January = Januari Ten = Kumi February = Februari March = Machi Twenty = Ishirini April = Aprili Thirty = Thelathini May = Mei June = Juni Forty = Arobaini July = Julai Fifty = Hamsini August = Agosti Sixty = Sitini September = Septemba October = Oktoba Seventy = Sabini November = Novemba Eighty = Themanini December = Desemba Ninety = Tisini One Hundred = Mia moja Seasons One Thousand = Elfu moja Winter (Cold) = Majira ya baridi Ten Thousand = Elfu Kumi Summer (warm/hot) = majira ya joto One Hundred Thousand = laki moja Rainy season = majira ya mvua Dry season = majira ya ukame One Million = Milioni moja
  • 6. Swahili for Summiteers 6 Slang & Bad Words Being Kind Slang Good morning = Habari za asubuhi Hi = Sasa, Niaje, Mambo Good afternoon = Habari za mchana Hi (responding to above) = Fit, Fiti, Poa, Fit sana Good night =  Usiku mwema Foreigner = Mlami How nice of you = umekuwa mkarimu sana/mmekuwa Money = Ganji, Niado, Doh Bribe = Kitukidogo wakarimu sana Bad Words What a beautiful day = Siku imekuwa njema/nzuri sana Get lost = Ishia, wachana na mimi Please = Tafadhali You are bothering me = unanisumbua Thank you = Asante Stop bothering me = usinisumbue What time is it?  = Ni saa ngapi? Locations I love you = ninakupenda I miss you = nina hamu na wewe My room = Chumba changu Would you go on a date with me? = Tunaweza kutoka Bathroom = Bafu pamoja? Loo choo/msalani Market = sokoni How are you? = Hujambo? Hotel = hoteli Good, well = safi, nzuri Cafe = Mkahawa My name is = Jina langu ni Club = Klabu What is your name? = Jina lako ni nani? Disco = Disco I want = ninataka Please take me to (location) = Naomba unipeleke Would you like to dance = Ungependa kudensi Where are we?/where is this place? = Tuko wapi? Are we lost? = Tumepotea? You look very attractive = wavutia sana, wewe ni No problem = hakuna matata / hakuna tabu/ hakuna mrembo sana shida Would you like a drink = ungependa kinywaji What do you take/drink = Wewe hutumia/hunywa nini Kiswahili or Swahili? Beer or water or wine = pombe au maji au mvinyo According to The Kamusi Project,"Swahili" is the English I need = ninahitaji term for the Swahili language, while "Kiswahili" is the Swahili language term for the Swahili language. I would like = Naomba I am looking for = Ninatafuta ki = language u = place m = person wa = people Bye bye = kwa heri Kiswahili = Swahili language Hi, hello = Mambo! , Salama? I’m ok/cool = Niko poa Uswahili = Swahili speaking area How much is it? = Ni pesa Ngapi Mswahili = Swahili speaking person My change/balance is = Change yangu ni Waswahili = Swahili speaking people
  • 7. Swahili for Summiteers 7 Kiswahili song with translation Artist: Fadhili Williams Song: Malaika Malaika, nakupenda malaika Angel, I love you Angel. Malaika, nakupenda malaika Angel, I love you Angel. Nami nifanyeje, kijana Mwenzio And I, your young lover, what can I do. nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealth ningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel. nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealth ningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel. kidege, hukuwaza kidege Little bird, I dream of you little bird. kidege, hukuwaza kidege Little bird, I dream of you little bird. Nami nifanyeje, kijana Mwenzio And I, your young lover, what can I do. nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealth ningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel. nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealth ningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel. pesa za sumbua roho yangu Money is troubling my soul pesa za sumbua roho yangu Money is troubling my soul nami nifanyeje,kijana mwenzio , And I, your young lover, what can I do, nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealth ningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel. nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealth ningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel. Malaika, nakupenda malaika Angel, I love you Angel. Malaika, nakupenda malaika Angel, I love you Angel. Nami nifanyeje, kijana Mwenzio And I, your young lover, what can I do. nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealth ningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel. nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealth ningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel.