Swahili is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo family that is approximately 1000 years old. With a lot of borrowed phrases & influence from the Arabic descent, Swahili is often thought to have been shaped from the interactions of local inhabitants with Arabs and Persians who moved to the East African coast.

However, it is important to note that in its original & purest form, Swahili existed even before the arrival of the first visitors on the East African coast. Today, Swahili still continues to evolve and spread across the world, to become one of the most versatile and widely spoken languages in modern society.

Swahili doesn’t contain any unpronounceable sounds, which makes it easy to learn and speak, in no time. Here is a rough guide to help you get acquainted with the common greetings. 

 

Swahili has only 5 vowels which are is: A, E, I, O, U and pronounced as follows;

Vowel Pronunciation
A (a)  Pronounced like the “A” in the word  FAR
E (e) Pronounced like the “E” in BED or EGG
I (i) Pronounced like the “I” in SICK or PICK
O (o) Pronounced like the “O” in ON or OIL
U (u) Pronounced like the “OO” in TOO or COOL

 

Over 90% of the people that live along Diani Beach and the greater Coastal region are native speakers of Swahili. Therefore, Diani Beach is one of the best places to learn & speak Swahili in its purest form. But it is always a great idea to learn a few useful basic words before you embark on your trip to Diani. 

We will start with a few basic greetings, just remember to pronounce the vowels correctly as shown above and the consonants as you do in English. The two basic kinds of greeting are based on “Jambo” as in the matter or “Habari” as in the news;

Jambo is the most commonly known greeting and is loosely translated to “hello” with different variations depending on gender and number of persons as follows;

A Quick Guide to Swahili Greetings in Diani (With Infographic) 1

 

 

Basic Greetings

Jambo ============ Hello.

Jambo ============ Hello.

Habari yako ======== How are you?

Niko Salama========= I am fine

 

Greetings to more than one Person

Hujambo ————————   Hello

Sijambo  —————————   I’m fine.

 

Greetings to more than one Person

Hello All ——————– Hamjambo

We’re fine ——————— Hatujambo

 

Etiquette & Formalities ======== Taratibu na Adabu

Thank you ——————— Asante 

Excuse Me ———————Samahani

Please —————————Tafadhali

Goodbye————————Kwaheri

See you later ——————Tutaonana.

Please to meet you ——–Vyema kukutana / Vyema Kujuana

 

OTHER USEFUL PHRASES TO KNOW

Yes ——————Ndio

No ——————Hapana

Very —————Sana

Where ————Wapi?

When —————Lini

Now ——————Sasa

Goodnight ———Lala Salama

Rafiki ——————————Friend

Rafiki yangu ———————My Friend

Mama ——————————Adult woman/ Mother

Kijana ——————————Youth or teenager

Mtoto ——————————Child or kid

I’m Hungry —————————————Nahisi Njaa

I’m Thirsty ——————————————Nahisi Kiu

I don’t understand —————————— Sielewi

Where are you going ————————Unaenda Wapi

I am going to the hotel ———————Naenda Hotelini

Have a nice trip———————————Safari Njema!

How do you Say in Swahili —————Unasemaje kwa Kiswahili