Basic words

Useful Swahili phrases and words…

If you are traveling to East Africa then you are in luck. Being able to say hello and make a few exchanges with the locals in their local language will not only endear you to them, it will make your trip awesome.

 

PRONUNCIATION GUIDE: Swahili words are always pronounced the way they are written. Literally. There are no silent letters and every syllable must be enunciated.

 

Greetings

Jambo? / hujambo? (how are you?) – sijambo (I am fine).
Habari? (how are you?) – nzuri (fine).
Goodbye – Kwaheri.

 

Saying Thank you and other Courtesies

  • Thank you – Asante.
  • Thank you – Asanteni (to more than one person).
  • Thank you very much – Asante sana
  • Please – Tafadhali.
  • Sorry – Pole.
  • No problem – Hakuna matata.
  • Welcome – Karibu.
  • Excuse me – Samahani.
  • Don’t worry – usiogope.
  • What is your name? – Jina lako nani?
  • My name is Victor – Jina langu ni Victor.
  • I am English – Mimi ni Muingereza.
  • I am Australian – Mimi ni Maustralia.
  • Swahili Question Words
  • What? – Nini?
  • Where? – Wapi?
  • Which? – ipi? (or gani?)
  • Who? – Nani?
  • Agreements / Disagreements
  • Ok – Sawa.
  • Yes – Ndiyo.
  • No – Hapana.
  • I understand – Naelewa.
  • I don’t understand – Sielewi.
  • I like it – Ninaipenda.
  • I don’t like it – Siipendi.
  • Do you like it? – Je, Unaipenda?
  • Pronouns
  • Me – Mimi.
  • You – Wewe.
  • Him/her – Yeye.
  • Mine – Yangu.
  • Yours – Yako.
  • His/hers – Yake.
  • Ours – Yetu.

 

Swahili Shopping Phrases

Going shopping. These Swahili phrases and words will help you communicate with the seller if they don’t speak English. You might even get a good deal.
If there is an English phrase you might want to use but it is not here then pop it onto the Swahili translator to get Swahili translation of the phrase.

  • Store/shop – Duka.
  • Grocery store – Soko.
  • Fashion store – Duka la nguo.
  • Bookshop – Duka la vitabu.
  • Pants – Suruali.
  • Shirt – Shati.
  • Bag / handbag – Mkoba.
  • Shoes – Viatu.
  • Earrings – Herini.
  • Bracelet – Bangili.
  • Umbrella – Mwavuli.
  • Price – Bei.
  • Money – Pesa.
  • Cash – pesa taslimu.
  • How much? – Pesa ngapi?
  • It is cheap – Ni bei rahisi.
  • It is expensive – Ni bei ghali.
  • Do you give discounts? – Je, Unapunguza bei?
  • Please reduce the price – Tafadhali punguza bei.
  • I thought it cost just $5 – Nilifikiria ni dola tano(5) tu.
  • How do I pay? – Ninalipaje?
  • I have a credit/debit card – Nina kadi.

 

Eating out

  • Eat – Kula.
  • Food – Chakula.
  • Breakfast – Staftahi.
  • Lunch – Chakula cha mchana.
  • Dinner – Chakula cha jioni.
  • Menu – Menyu.
  • Bill – Bili.
  • Service – huduma.
  • Hot – Moto.
  • Cold – Baridi.
  • Cup – Kikombe.
  • Glass – Glesi.
  • Fork – Uma.
  • Spoon – Kijiko.
  • Knife – Kisu.
  • Plate – Sahani.
  • Sugar – Sukari.
  • Pepper – Pilipili.
  • Fruit – Tunda.
  • Drinks – Vinywaji.
  • Cold drink – Kinywaji baridi.
  • Fruit juice – Maji ya matunda.
  • Beer – Bia.
  • Cold beer – Bia baridi.
  • Tea – Chai.
  • Coffee – Kahawa.
  • Soup – Supu.
  • Chicken – Kuku.
  • Meat – Nyama.
  • Fish – Samaki.
  • Rice – Wali.
  • Vegetables – Mboga.
  • Drinking water – Maji ya kunywa.
  • Clean drinking water – Maji safi ya kunywa.
  • I am hungry – Nahisi njaa
  • I am thirsty – Nahisi kiu.
  • I am full – Nimeshiba.
  • I want YYY – Nataka YYY.
  • What would you like to order? – Ungependa kuagiza nini?
  • What would you recommend? – Ungependekeza nini?
  • I would like to order YYY – Ningependa kuagiza YYY.
  • I am vegetarian – Sili nyama.
  • Enjoy your meal – Furahia chakula chako.
  • I have enjoyed the meal – Nimefurahia chakula hicho.
  • It is delicious – Ni tamu sana.

 

Out and About

  • Cab/Taxi – Teksi.
  • Train – Gari moshi.
  • Boat – Mashua.
  • Seat – Kiti.
  • Ticket – Tiketi.
  • Fare – Nauli.
  • Schedule – Ratiba.
  • Entrance – Kuingia.
  • Exit – Kutoka.
  • Right – Kulia.
  • Left – Kushoto.
  • I have a question – Nina Swali.
  • Do you speak English? – Je, Unasema Kiingereza?
  • I speak English – Ninasema Kiingereza.
  • I don’t speak English – Sisemi Kiingereza.
  • I am lost – Nimepotea njia.
  • I am looking for the Hilton Hotel – Ninatafuta hoteli la Hilton.
  • Where is Barclays Bank? – Benki la Barclays liko wapi?
  • Choo kiko wapi? – Where is the washroom?
  • Where is the bus stop? – Stesheni ya basi iko wapi?

 

Time of Day

  • Time – Saa.
  • Morning – Asubuhi.
  • Afternoon – Mchana.
  • Evening – Jioni.
  • Night – Usiku.
  • What is the time? – Ni saa ngapi?

 

Happy Holidays

  • Happy birthday – Furaha ya siku ya kuzaliwa.
  • Merry Christmas – Krismasi njema.
  • Happy new year – Heri ya mwaka mpya.
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