Habari Gani?= what’s the news? Njema /Salama= good/peaceful
Mambo? = What’s up? (slang) Poa = everything’s cool (slang)
Shikamoo = (greeting for elder) Marahaba = (response)
Hujambo? = How are you? Sijambo = (response) I am fine.
Kwaheri = Good bye Tutaonana = we will see each other
Tafadhali = Please Kwenda= To go
Tafadhali ninataka kwenda sokoni= Please I want to go to the market
Soko = Market Sokoni = To/at/in the market
Baadaye = Later Leo = Today
Kesho = Tomorrow Jana = Yesterday
Asante = Thank you Karibu = You’re welcome (also “Welcome!)
Kula = To eat Kunywa = To drink
Kulala = To sleep Kuamka = To wake up
Chakula = Food Maji = Water
Choo/ Msalani = Toilet Bafu = Bathroom
Chumba = Room Jiko = Kitchen
Nyumba = House Shule = School
Sijui = I don’t know Najua = I know (Ninajua)
Unaongea = You speak/ Do you speak? Siongei = I do not speak….
Unasema nini? = What are you saying? Sisemi = I am not speaking
Ninaelewa = I understand Sielewi = I do not understand
ASKING FOR SOMETHING
Naomba = may I have…..? Nataka = I want
Nahitaji = I need Nipe = Please give me
The first three are contractions of Ninaomba, ninataka, ninahitaji.
The fourth is a polite command. “Please” is implied.
PERSONAL PRONOUNS & PRONOUN PREFIXES & INFIXES
In Swahili there are three forms of personal pronouns:
Self-standing pronouns Subject prefix Object infix
Mimi= I and Me Ni-= I -ni-= me
Mimi ninataka kula= I want to eat Utanipa chakula? Will you give me food?
Wewe = You and You U-= you -ku-= you
Wewe unataka kula pia= You want to eat too/also. Nitakupa chakula I will give you food.
Yeye = He/She and Him/Her= A-= He/She -m-/-mw-/-mu- =Him/Her
Yeye anakula chakula = He/She is eating food. Ulimpa chakula= You gave him/her food
Nyinyi = You and You (plural) M-/Mw-/Mu- =You -wa- = You
Nyinyi mnataka kula chakula.= You (pl.) want to eat food. Atawapa chakula= He/She will give all of you food.
Sisi = We and Us Tu- = We -tu- = Us
Sisi tunataka kula chakula= We want to eat food. Utatupa chakula? = Will you give us food?
Wao = They and Them Wa- = They -wa- = Them
Wao wanataka kula chakula= They want to eat food. Mtawapa chakula? Will all of you give them food?
There is no distinction for gender
-na- = present tense -li-= past tense -ta-= future tense
-me-= past participle and present perfect
ZOEZI = DRILL
Using the vocabulary, create sentences varying the subject, object and tense. Note that the structure of statements and questions is the same in written form. In vocal form, the voice rises at the end of a question, similar to English intonation.
[-ni] at the end of a noun signifies direction or position; to, in, at, and on. Look at the first sentence: Tafadhali ninataka kwenda sokoni. [sokoni] In this example the [-ni] means “to” the market. Mimi niko sokoni. = I am at/in the market.