Connect the dots

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ninazungumza Kiswahili! Kidogo.

Primarily a Bantu language but due to trading along the coast, Swahili eventually evolved to include Arabic, German, Portuguese and French. As Tanzania's official language, you cannot be here for one day without speaking a word of it. It is easy to pick up and locals are tickled when they hear it coming from a foreigner. Here are some words and phrases to get you started. Hey, you probably already know some - think Kwanzaa (first).

Jambo - Hello for foreigners
Si jambo - Fine (response to jambo)
Mambo - How are you?
Poa - I'm fine, okay, cool

Habari? - Hello or How are you?
Habari za asubuhi? - How are you this morning?
Habari za leo?- How are you this evening?
Mzuri - Fine (reponse to Habari)
Kwa heri - Goodbye
Usiku mwema - Goodnight

Ndiyo - Yes
Hapana - No
Sawa - OK
Samahani - Excuse me/Sorry
Tafadhali - Please
Asante (sana) - Thank you (very much)
Karibu - You're welcome

Kidogo - Little

Shikamoo - greeting for young children to adults (they loved it when Alex said this!)
Marahaba - (response from adult)

Iko wapi...? - Where is...?
Choo - Toilet
Benki - Bank
Daladala - Mini bus

Moja - One
Mbili - Two
Tatu - Three