Say Hello in the Swahili Language
The Swahili language is spoken extensively in countries on the east coast of Africa – either as a second language after English or as a mother tongue. In Africa, Tanzania has the largest number of Swahili speakers, followed by Uganda and Kenya.
The language was largely influenced by Arabic over hundreds of years because of contact between local inhabitants and Arabian traders. In fact, many words from Swahili are borrowed from Arabic, including the word Swahili itself. Some of the earliest literature dating back to the 18th century was also found to be written in Arabic script. Today, however, the language is written mostly in the Roman alphabet.
Learn some basics such as how to say hello in Swahili and other greetings here.
|English:||Hello||My name is|
|Swahili:||Jambo||Jina langu ni|
|Pronunciation:||JAM-bo||JEE-na LAHN-goo nee|
To say hello in Swahili, say jambo. You can also say hujambo (pronounced hoo-JAHM-boh) if you want to greet someone more formally. Habari (pronounced hah-BAH-ree), which literally translates to “news,” is often used to say hi too.
Greetings can also be varied based on the time of day as follows:
- habari za asubuhi (pronounced hah-BAH-ree zah ah-soo-BOO-hee) for good morning – used from early morning till noon
- habari za mchana (pronounced hah-BAH-ree zah mmCHAH-nah) for good afternoon – used from noon till sunset
- habari za jioni (pronounced hah-BAH-ree zah jee-yoh-nee) to informally greet someone after sunset
Did You Know You Were Speaking Swahili?
Words in English from the Swahili language:
|simba (lion)||uhuru (freedom)||bwana (master)|
|safari (trip)||Toto (small child, young animal)|
Learn more than just how to say hello in Swahili with this link about the Swahili alphabet:
Explore these resources for more about the Swahili language:
- Noun Classification in Swahili
- English-Swahili Dictionary
- Swahili Language & Culture Resources
- Swahili Audio and Video Conversations
Here are some great resources for information on the Swahili culture:
- Swahili People Facts for Kids
- International Children’s Digital Library: Books in Swahili
- African Countries
- CIA World Factbook: Kenya
- CIA World Factbook: Tanzania
- CIA World Factbook: Uganda
- Kenya: International Travel
- Tanzania: International Travel
- Uganda: International Travel
- Country Study of Uganda
Who Can You Talk To?
There are more than 69.1 million people who speak Swahili in Burundi, Kenya, Mayotte, Mozambique, Oman, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, and Zanzibar.
Now, you can say hello in Swahili to over 69.1 million people!*
*Source: Ethnologue: Swahili– (Register for free to access.)
Say Hello to the World was created by Lorri Mon.
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