Msafiri’s Swahili Phrase guide

Kenya is a country made up of many tribes; 43 and more and swahili/ kiswahili (being the national language) stands out as the language that unifies these groups. Swahili has taken root in many countries as well and is widely spoken in regions of Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Congo and Zambia; it is the most widely spoken African language.

In Kenya, “JAMBO” swahili for  “hello” is a greeting most commonly associated with tourists  and is often the first word learnt …this is also evident in the famous welcoming song “Jambo Bwana” by them mushrooms.

While exploring  the beautiful Kenya, learning a little swahili will come a long way in helping you enjoy a smooth and enjoyable adventure when interacting with the locals.

This guide will give you access to some helpful basic Swahili:

 

USEFUL GREETINGS

Jambo (informal used on tourists) or Hujambo? (Hello, good day, how are you?)

Jambo or Sijambo (the response) I’m fine!

Habari? How are things?

Nzuri (Fine, good)

Hodi! Hello? Anyone in? (said on knocking or entering)

Karibu  Come in, enter, welcome(also said on offering something)

Kwaheri/ ni

Goodbye to one/ many

Asante/ ni

Thank you to one/ many

Bwana

 

Mama

Mister, the equivalent of monsieur in French

 

Like the French madame or madamoiselle, for adult women

Kijana

 

Mtoto

Youth, teenager(plural,vijana)

 

Child, kid(plural,watoto)

 

BASIC NEEDS

Where can I stay?

Naweza Kukaa wapi?

Can I stay here?

Naweza kukaa hapa?

Room/s

Chumba/vyumba

Bed/s

Kitanda/vitanda

Chair/s

Kiti/viti

Table/s

Meza

Toilet, bathroom

Choo, bafu

Washing water

Maji ya kuosha

Hot/cold water

Maji moto/baridi

I’m hungry

Ninasikia njaa

I’m thirsty

Nina kiu

Is there any?

Iko… or Kuna?…

Yes there is…

Iko…or kuna…

No there isn’t any

Hakuna

How much?

Ngapi?

money

Pesa

What price?

Bei gani?

How much does it cost?

Pesa Ngapi?

I want…

Nataka

I don’t want

Sitaki

Give me/Bring me (can I have?)

Nipe/Niletee

Again

Tena

Enough

Tosha/basi

Expensive

Ghali/sana

Cheap(also”easy”)

Rahisi

Fifty cents

Sumni

Reduce the price,come down a little

Punguza kidogo

Shop

Duka

Bank

Benki

Post office

Posta

Café,restaurant

Hoteli

Telephone

Simu

Cigarettes

Sigara

I’m ill

Mimi mgonjwa

Doctor

Daktari

Hospital

Hospitali

Police

Polisi

 

TRAVEL AND DIRECTIONS

Bus/es

Bas,basi / mabasi

Car /s, Vehicle/ s

Gari/ Magari

Taxi

Teksi

Bicycle

Baiskeli

Train

Treni

Plane

Ndege

Boat / Ship

Chombo / Meli

Petrol

Petroli

Road, path

Njia/ ndia

Highway

Barabara

On foot/ Walking

Kwa miguu

When does it leave

Inaondoka lini?

When will you arrive?

Tutafika lini?

Slowly

Pole pole

Fast, quickly

Haraka

Wait! / hang on a moment!

Ngoja!/ ngoja kidogo!

Stop!

Simama!

Where are you going

Unaenda wapi

To where?

Mpaka wapi?

From where?

Kutoka wapi?

How many kilometers?

Kilometa ngapi?

I’m going to

Naenda

Move along, squeeze up a little

Songa!/ songa kidogo!

Let’s go, carry on

Twende, endelea

Straight ahead

Moja kwa moja

Right

Kulia

Left

Kushoto

Up

Juu

Down

Chini

I want to get off here

Nataka kushuka hapa

The car has broken down

Gari imearibika

 

General Words and Phrases

English

Swahili

And

Na

Big

kubwa

Small

ndogo

A lot of

nyingi

Other/ Another

Ingine

Not bad

Si mbaya

Danger

Hatari

Drink (noun)

Kinywaji

Drink (verb)

Kunywa

Eat

Kula

Excuse me!

Samahani!

Food

Chakula

Friend

Rafiki

Good

Nzuri

Goodbye!

Kwaheri!

Help me, please!

Nisaidie, tafadhali!

Here

Hapa

Hot

Moto

How?

Vipi?

I am angry.

Nimekasirika.

I am traveling.

Ninasafiri.

I am happy.

Nimefurahi.

I can speak Swahili.

Ninaweza kusema Kiswahili.

I can’t speak Swahili.

Siwezi kusema Kiswahili.

I love you!

Ninakupenda!

Motorcycle

Pikipiki

No!

Hapana!

OK!

Sawa!

Please

Tafadhali

Sorry! (apologize)

Samahani!

Sorry! (sympathize)

Pole!

Sweet

Tamu

Thank you!

Asante!

Thank you very much!

Asante sana!

There

Pale

Very

Sana

Water

Maji

Welcome!

Karibu!

What?

Nini?

When?

Wakati gani?

Where?

Wapi?

Where are you going to?

Unakwenda wapi?

Which?

Ipi?

Yes!

Ndio

Fine, cool

Safi

Completely

Kabisa

Just, only

Tu(kitanda kimoja tu-just ona bed)

Thing/ s

Kitu/ vitu

Problems, hassles

Wasiwasi, matata

No problem

Hakuna wasiwasi/ Hakuna matata

Friend

Rafiki

Sorry, pardon

Samahani

It’s nothing

Si kitu

Excuse me (let me through)

Hebu

What’s up?

Namna gani?

If God wills it

Inshallah (heard often on the coast)

Please

Tafadhali

Take a picture of me!

Piga picha mimi!

Help the poor!

Saidia maskini!

Ok, right, fine

Sawa

 

Numbers

English

Swahili

English

Swahili

1

Moja

40

Arubaini

2

Mbili 

50

Hamsini

3

Tatu

55

Hamsini na tano

4

Nne 

60

Sitini

5

Tano 

70

Sabini

6

Sita 

80

Thamanini

7

Saba 

90

Tisini

8

Nane

100

Mia

9

Tisa

136

Mia moja thalathini na sita

10

Kumi

999

Mia tisa tisini na tisa

11

Kumi na moja

1000

Elfu

12

Kumi na mbili

1997

Elfu moja mia tisa tisini na saba

17

Kumi na saba

Half

Nusu

20

Ishirini

Two and a half

Mbili na nusu

24

Ishirini na nne

Quarter

Robo

30

Thalathini

Forty seven and three quarters

Arubaini na saba na robo tatu

 

Time

English

Swahili

Time

Saa

Hour

Saa

Watch/Clock

Saa

Morning

Asubuhi

Evening

Jioni/Usiku

Afternoon

Mchana

Late afternoon

Alasiri/Jioni

Dusk

Magharibi

Night

Usiku

Late night

Usiku wa manane

Early morning

Alfajiri

What time is it?

Saa ngapi?

8 o’clock in the morning

Saa mbili kamili asubuhi

8 o’clock sharp

Saa mbili barabara

Noon

Saa sita mchana

4:25 p.m.

Saa kumi na dakika ishirini na tano alasiri

6:00 p.m.

Saa kumi na mbili kamili jioni

8:15 p.m.

Saa mbili na robo usiku

7:45 p.m.

Saa mbili kasorobo usiku

9:30 a.m.

Saa tatu unusu asubuhi (also: Saa tatu na nusu asubuhi)

Now

Sasa

Today

Leo

Yesterday

Jana

Tomorrow

Kesho

Day before yesterday

Juzi

Day after tomorrow

Kesho-kutwa

Day

Siku

Week

Wiki

Month

Mwezi

Year

Mwaka

Century

Karne

Common Dialogue

Sentence/Phrase

Response

Habari!   (Hello!/Hi!)

Nzuri! (Good!/Fine!)

Ninaitwa Charles. Wewe unaitwaje?
(My name is Charles. What’s your name?)

Ninaitwa Mary. Nimefurahi kukujua.
(My name is Mary. I’m pleased to know you.)

Unazungumza Kiswahili?
(Do you speak Swahili?)

Ndio! Ninazungumza Kiswahili.
(Yes! I speak Swahili.)


Kidogo tu!
(Just a little bit!)


Hapana! Sizungumzi Kiswahili. Ninazungumza Kiingereza tu!
(No! I don’t speak Swahili. I only speak English!)

Ninatokea Marekani. Wewe unatokea wapi?
(I’m from the United States of America. Where are you from?)

Ninatokea Japani. Nipo hapa kwa matembezi.
(I’m from Japan. I’m visiting here.)


Ninatokea Uingereza. Nipo hapa kwa kazi.
(I’m from U.K. I’m here on business.)


Ninatokea Ujerumani. Nimekuja kujifunza Kiswahili.
(I’m from Germany. I’ve come to learn Swahili.)

Kwaheri! Nimefurahi kukutana na wewe.
(Goodbye! I’m pleased to meet you.)

Karibu! Nimefurahi pia kukutana na wewe.
(Goodbye! I’m also pleased to meet you.)

Utapenda kunywa nini?
(What would you like to drink?)

Nitakunywa maji tu. Nina kiu sana!
(I’ll just drink water. I’m very thirsty.)


Nitakunywa kahawa bila maziwa.
(I’ll drink coffee without milk.)


Nitakunywa chai na maziwa na sukari kidogo.
(I’ll drink tea with milk and little sugar.)


Nitakunywa soda. CocaCola, tafadhali.
(I’ll drink soda. CocaCola, please.)

Tafadhali niletee chakula moto haraka. Nina njaa sana!
(Please bring me some hot food quickly. I’m very hungry!)

Huu hapa wali, samaki, mbatata, na saladi. Nitakuletea keki baadaye.
(Here is rice, fish, potatoes, and salad. I’ll bring you cake later.)

Animals

English

Picture

Swahili

Baboon 

Baboon-Wildlife

Nyani

Bird(s)

images

Ndege

Buffalo 

Buffalo

Nyati

Cat 

young-calico-cat

Paka

Cheetah 

imagesr

Duma

Chimpanzee 

y

Sokwe

Cow/Ox

imagest

Ng’ombe

Deer

white_tailed_deer_buck2

Paa

Dog 

This-is-a-Best-colletion-of-cute-dog-pictures-2013

Mbwa

Donkey 

Donkey_1_arp_750px

Punda

Elephant 

african-elephant_435_600x450

Tembo/Ndovu

Giraffe 

imagesi

Twiga

Goat 

imageso

Mbuzi

Hippopotamus

imagesh

Kiboko

Hyena 

imagesk

Fisi

Impala

220px-Serengeti_Impala3

Swara

Leopard 

imagesn

Chui

Lion 

l

Simba

Monkey 

superfunnypetmonkey01big

Kima

Ostrich 

899573-ostrich

Mbuni

Peacock 

imageslk

Tausi

Pig 

imagesd

Nguruwe

Python 

m

Chatu

Rhinoceros 

imagesb

Kifaru

Sheep

10883960-mother-sheep-and-her-lamb

Kondoo

Snake 

2013-year-of-the-snake-list_64139_600x450

Nyoka

Warthog 

imagesz

Ngiri

Wild  Boar

t

Nguruwe-mwitu

Wild Dog

african-wild-dogs_441_600x450

Mbwa-mwitu

Zebra 

imagesa

Punda-milia

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