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Warrior of Light

Swahili lessons

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Hours of the day

The Swahili 24hrs (saa ishirini na nne) starts at 6pm, thus the whole night(usiku) comes first then the day(mchana)

Dakika > minutes, sekunde> seconds, saa> hours


Saa sita (ya usiku) > 12 midnight, saaa sita(ya mchana) >>12 noon.

Saa saba > 1 am, saa tano >> 11am , saa kumi na mbili>>6pm

Saa mmoja>>7pm, saa mbili u robo >> a quarter past 8pm

Saa mbili u nusu>> half past 8pm


Alfajiri>> early morning, Asubuhi>> morning, Adhuhuri> noon

Mchana>>day Alasiri>>afternoon, Jioni>>evening

Usiku>> night, Usiku wa manane>> midnight


Edashara and thenashara, the Arabic for 11 and 12 is also used in the coast

Saa edashara means 5 O clock

Saa thenashara, means 6 O clock

Saa tisa means 3 O clock


Seasons of the year.


Year> mwaka, years> miaka, last year> mwaka jana, next year> mwaka ujao

Some time ago> Zamani ( has a very elastic meaning can me months, days, weeks)


The coastal part people use the Islamic calendar among themselves

Muharram, Rajab, Shabaan…………….


Some have devised a system where Ramadhan is Ramadhan and from then they use the word Mfunguo Mosi (1st Months)… and continue until they complete the lunar months.


Officially, the European names of the months are being used.

Januari, Februari, Machi, Aprili, Mei, Juni, Julai, Agosti, Septemba, Oktoba, Novemba, Desemba.


Also naming them like the first month >Mwezi wa Kwanza for januari is used.

Mwezi wa sita will be Julai.


Seasons are marked by the prevailing winds

Kaskazi > N.E winds, hot season (Dec to March)

Masika> Rainy season (April)

Kusi> S.E wind, cool season ( May to October)

Vuli> Lesser rains (November)


The Monsoons of the Indian ocean also have their effect on the coastal belt.

N.E reinforces the trade winds>> from jan thus very dry n hot

S.W effect seen in August n September.




Tanzanian Shilling is the currency >> Shilingi

Senti mia make 1 shilingi ( though it has no value)

Bank notes available

Shiling 500, 1000, 10,000,

Coin>> Gobore



Kilos> Kilo mmoja /mbili/

In souk u can buy things in a heap>> Fungu/ Mafungu(pl)

Or in baskets> Pakacha



In Swahili the beginning of the word is altered and not the end.



The first syllable(which changes in plural) is called the prefix. The rest is the stem, the primitive element which connects several stems is the root.

M and n by themselves can be a syllable by themselves.


Nouns are divided into 8 different classes accordin 2 the prefix


1.WA class>> m-toto a child, wa-toto, children

The M prefix(sing.) is really a mu, upcountry natives say mu-toto, the Swahili don’t they pronounce with a closed lips m-toto. All nouns in this class denote living things.


2.MI classs>> m-tego a trap, mi-tego, traps

Most names of trees n plants and for God>Mungu is in this group


3.N class>> n-goma a drum, n-goma, drums

The N prefix(sing.) is really a ni, infront of a vowel it becomes a ny e.g nyumba>a house, nyika> bush.

Problem with n is that there is phonetic changes depending with the consonant stem

Before d,g,j,y,z n stands all right I s pronounced,

Before ch,f,h,k,m,n,s,t,p n is lost altogether

Nb becomes mb, nl becomes nd, nr becomes nd, nve becomes mv, nw becomes mb.

The nouns in this group include a lot of foreign words.


4.KI class>> ki-tu a thing, vi-tu, things

Before a vowel ki becomes ch, and vi becomes vy, eg, chakula, pl vyakula.


5. MA class>>gari, a car, ma-gari, cars

This is a general class and also included most titles of office and amplicatives


6.U class>> u-devu, a hair of a beard, ma-devu the beard

A class of abstract nouns with no plurals.


7. PA class>> mahali, a place or places

The only noun in this group is the Arabic word mahali, the Swahili words have been lost

8.KU class>> Ku-fa death, dying

Consists entirely of verb infinitives used as nouns. No plurals.



Class 2. The Grammer




Wa classes Nouns beginning with m, denotes living beings, plural maybe wa-

m-tu a person >> watu people


MI classes noun beginning with m- if they don’t denote living things, plural changes to mi-

Mkono –a hand >> mikono hands

Mti tree >> miti>> trees.


KI classes nouns begin with ki plural changes to vi

Kilemba, a turban … vilemba turbans

Kitu a thing >> vitu things


Exercise, write the plurals

Mnyama , animal , mkono arm, mshale arrow, mbuyu baobab tree, kikapu basket, kitabu book, mzinga cannon/beehive, mkufu chain, mfupa bone, kifua chest, mvulana boy. Msichana girl, mzee old person, mlima mountain, kijana youth, mji town.


NB, Mungu, God, miungu, gods, Mtume, Prophet Mitume Prophets.

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Johnny B   

This is very intresting !!

something smugger , when talking to Jumatatu & freinds ..

btw .. how do you pronounce a k + w , some phonetics would be very helpful ;)

Asante sana rafiki icon_razz.gif ( the from the lion king )

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hellooo worrior ur doin good job out here promoting

swahili in this nomads zone.

hope u'll not mind giving us some important profile on swahili language history, how it came to being? and how big areas it covers in africa?. Cause i heard that its the most popular language in Africa and actually was once suggested to be official african language, correct me if am wrong.

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