The Swahili language is of Bantu origin loyal to Bantu grammar and has borrowed vocabulary from Arabic and a number of other languages. The word ‘Swahili’ or ‘sawahil’ comes from Arabic and it means ‘The Coast.’ It later came to be used to refer to the people and the language. It is widely spoken within East Africa and parts of Central Africa. A few African countries use Swahili as their official language.

Swahili is spoken in the following countries: – Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and some areas of Somalia.

Swahili is a reasonably easy language to learn since you basically pronounce what you read (for example, mama = mother, baba = father). Other languages have click sounds, or intonation in the pronunciation.

See below some English to Swahili phrases:-

ENGLISH SWAHILI
 Hello  Jambo
 How are you?  Habari
 Fine  Nzuri
 And you?  Na wewe?
 Where are you from?  Unatoka wapi?
 I am from…  Natoka…
 Goodbye  Kwaheri
 Help me  Nisaidie
 I am hungry  Nina njaa
 I am thirsty  Nina kiu
 I  Mimi
 You  Wewe
 We  Sisi
 Sir  Bwana
 Madam  Bibi
 Mother  Mama
 Father  Baba
 Sister  Dada
 Brother  Kaka
 Kin  Ndugu
 Family  Familia
 There is…  Kuna…
 There isn’t…  Hakuna…
 Okay  Sawa sawa
 I’m just looking!  Naangalia tu
 I don’t want  Sitaki
 Please  Tafadhali
 Excuse me  Samahani
 Thank you (very much)  Asante (sana)
 No problem  Hakuna Matata
 Good  Nzuri
 Bad  Mbaya
 Quick  Upesi or Haraka
 Slow  Pole pole
 Sorry  Pole
 Call the police  Ita polisi
 Hot  Moto
 Cold  Baridi
 Hot (spicy)  Kali
 Big  Kubwa
 Small  Ndogo
 Open  Fungua
 Close  Funga
 Very  Sana
 Absolutely  Kabisa
 Coffee  Kahawa
 Tea  Chai
 Milk  Maziwa
 Sugar  Sukari
 Salt  Chumvi
 Food  Chakula
 Water  Maji
 With/ Without  Na/ Bila
 Danger  Hatari
 Thief  Mwizi
 Doctor  Daktari
 Hospital  Hospitali
 Medicine  Dawa
 Chemist  Duka La Dawa
 Telephone  Simu
 Sunday  Jumapili
 Monday  Jumatatu
 Tuesday  Jumanne
 Wednesday  Jumatano
 Thursday  Alhamisi
 Friday  Ijumaa
 Saturday  Jumamosi
 Today  Leo
 Tomorrow  Kesho
 Yesterday  Jana
 Morning  Asubuhi
 Afternoon  Alasiri
 Evening  Jioni
 Night  Usiku
 Yes  Ndiyo
 No  Hapana
 Now  Sasa
 Later  Baadaye
 Ready  Tayari
 Not yet  Bado
 What  Nini
 When  Lini
 Where  Wapi
 Which  Ipi
 Who  Nani
 Why  Kwa nini
 What are you saying?  Unasemaje?
 I don’t know  Sijui
 I don’t understand  Sielewi
 1 (one)  Moja
 2 (two)  Mbili
 3 (three)  Tatu
 4 (four)  Nne
 5 (five)  Tano
 6 (six)  Sita
 7 (seven)  Saba
 8 (eight)  Nane
 9 (nine)  Tisa
 10 (ten)  Kumi
 Car  Gari
 Bicycle  Baiskeli
 Aeroplane  Ndege
 Road  Barabara
 Shop  Duka
 Journey  Safari

For more Swahili (see: Online Swahili – English Dictionary)

To visit part of the original and first swahili people please find in Swahili Coast or the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba or Mafia.