Ping (zestyping) wrote,

Three weeks of Swahili.

Swahili is straightforward to pronounce: it uses the five standard European vowel sounds, and the consonants work just like English, including "j", "ch", and "sh". The "r" is rolled. Otherwise, pronounce every letter individually, exactly as it's spelled. In short, you can pronounce Swahili as though it were Japanese written in the Roman alphabet.

jambo! hello!
— jambo!
habariyako? how are you? (what's the news?)
— mzuri [sana] [very] good!
ni me furahi kukutana na wewe I'm pleased to meet you
ni me furahi I'm happy

habari asabuhi? good morning! (what's the news of the morning?)
lala salama good night! (sleep well)
ume lala salama? did you sleep well?

mambo! what's up?
— poa [sana] it's cool

asante thank you
asante sana thank you very much
karibu welcome! / you're welcome
tena again
karibu tena come back again
tafadhali please
samahani sorry
asante kwa kunifundisha kiswahili thanks for teaching me Swahili!

barabara road
gari car
baiskeli bicycle
pikipiki motorbike
matatu a private minibus packed with far too many passengers travelling at dangerously high speeds, usually painted brightly with an exciting name like PIRATES or a Christian slogan

mimi me
wewe you
sisi us
sasa now
leo today
kesho tomorrow
chakula food
maji water
chooni bathroom

ngombe cow
kondoo sheep
mbosi goat
pondo donkey
pondo milia zebra
simba lion
masharubu beard (nickname for "male lion")
tembo elephant
swala pala impala
swala Tommy Thomson's gazelle (with the black stripe)
swala Grant Grant's gazelle (no black stripe)

jinalangu ni Ping my name is Ping
wewe je? and you...?
jinalako? what's your name?
hi ni nini? what is this? (great for learning new words)
hi ni ... this is ...

ndyo yes
hapana no
kushoto left
kulia right
mengi a lot
ndogo / kidogo a little

ni is
na and / with
kwa for
wa in
ya of
nini what
wapi where

chooni ni wapi [tafadhali]? where is the bathroom?
unatoka wapi? where are you from?
unaenda wapi? where are you going?
mimi naenda ... I'm going to ...

moja one
mbili two
tatu three
nne four
tano five
sita six
saba seven
nane eight
tisa nine
kumi ten

ishirini twenty
thelathini thirty
arubaini forty
hamsini fifty
sitini sixty
sabini seventy
themanini eighty
tisini ninety
mia hundred

ngombe tano five cows
mia nne na tisini na sita four hundred ninety-six
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