Tanzania Swahili basics

Swahili or Kiswahili is the national and official language of Tanzania. Swahili belongs to the greater Bantu language family that is widely spoken in East Africa as well as some parts of West Africa and Southern Africa.

The Tanzanians speak the most fluent Swahili in East Africa (as well as the Waswahili of Coastal Kenya) and take pride in their language which is widely spoken throughout the country and also used for official administration.  Although there are many other local languages spoken in Tanzania, the Tanzanians take pride in the language that unifies them and gives them identity as a nation.
Most people especially in the cities can speak basic English, but mastering a few words in Swahili will be greatly appreciated by the locals.

Greetings - Salamu


•    Hello, how are you?  - Habari yako ?
•    Am fine - Mzuri
•    Goodbye - Kwa heri
•    Nice to meet you = Nafurahi kukuona
•    Goodnight - Lala salama

Communication - Mazungumzo

•    Yes - Ndio
•    No - Hapana /La
•    Thank you - Asante
•    Thank you very much - Asante sana
•    Please - Tafadhali
•    OK - Sawa
•    Excuse me - Samahani
•    You're Welcome - Karibu 
•    Can you help me? - Nisaidie Tafadhali
•    What is your name? - Jina lako ni?
•    My name is Lisa - Jina langu ni  Lisa...
•    Where are you from? - Unatoka wapi?
•    I'm from London.. - Nimetoka London...
•    May I take a picture? - Naweza piga picha
•    Do you speak English? -Unaongea Kizungu?
•    Just a little bit - Kidogo tu!
•    How do you say Hallo in Swahili? = Unasemaje Hallo kwa Kiswahili
•    I don't understand - Sifahamu
•    Friend of mine -Rafiki yangu/Shoga yangu
•    Me - Mimi
•    You -wewe
•    I am - Mimi ni
•    Let’s go - Twende
•    Ok - Sawa
•    Enough - Tosha

Moving around...

•    Where is the ... - ni wapi...
•    Road - barabara
•    Market -soko
•    Toilet/bathroom - choo
•    Plane - ndege
•    Is there a bus going to Arusha...? - Kuna basi ya kuenda Arusha..?
•    Is it far - Ni mbali
•    Over there - pale
•    Ticket - tikiti
•    Where are you going? - Unaenda wapi?
•    How much is it? -Ni pesa ngapi?
•    Hotel - hoteli
•    Room - chumba
•    Are there any vacancies for tonight? -Kuna nafasi leo usiko?
•    No vacancies - Hamna nafasi
•    How much is it per night? - ni bei gani kwa usiku?

Time and Days - Wakati na Siku

•    What is the time - ni saa ngapi?
•    Today - leo
•    Tomorrow - kesho
•    Yesterday -  jana
•    Now -  sasa
•    Later - baadaye
•    Every day - kila siku
•    Monday - Jumatatu
•    Tuesday - Jumanne
•    Wednesday - Jumatano
•    Thursday - Alhamisi
•    Friday - Ijumaa
•    Saturday - Jumamosi
•    Sunday - Jumapili

Numbers - Hesabu

•    1 - moja
•    2 - mbili
•    3 - tatu
•    4 - nne
•    5 - tano
•    6 - sita
•    7 - saba
•    8 - nane
•    9 - tisa
•    10 - kumi
•    11 - kumi na moja (ten and one)
•    12 -kumi na mbili (ten and two)
•    20 - ishirini
•    21 - ishirni na moja (twenty and one)
•    30 - thelathini
•    40 - arobaini
•    50 - hamsini
•    60 - sitini
•    70 - sabini
•    80 - themanini
•    90 - tisini
•    100 - mia
•    200 -mia mbili
•    1000 - elfu
•    100,000 -laki moja
•    200,000 -laki mbili….

Food - Chakula

•    Hot - moto
•    Cold - baridi
•    Water - maji
•    Hot water - maji moto
•    Cold water - maji baridi
•    Drinking water - maji ya kunywa
•    Soda (soft drinks) - soda
•    Beer - bia
•    Milk - maziwa
•    Meat - nyama
•    Chicken - kuku
•    Fish - samaki
•    Beef - nyama ya ng'ombe
•    Fruit - matunda
•    Vegetables - mboga

Health - Afya

•    Doctor = daktari/mganga
•    Hospital = hospitali
•    I'm sick = mimi ni mgonjwa
•    I need a doctor = nataka kuona daktari
•    It hurts here = naumwa hapa ( hapa –point at where the pain is)
•    Fever = homa
•    Malaria = malaria
•    I have a headache = naumwa na kichwa
•    I have diarrhoea = naendesha
•    Vomiting = tapika
•    Medicine = dawa

Animals - Wanayama

•    Animal = mnyama 
•    Buffalo = Nyati / Mbogo
•    Cheetah = Duma / Chita
•    Elephant = Tembo / Ndovu
•    Giraffe = Twiga
•    Hippo = Kiboko
•    Hyena = Fisi
•    Leopard = Chui
•    Lion = Simba
•    Rhino = Kifaru
•    Warthog = Ngiri
•    Wildebeest = Nyumbu
•    Zebra = Punda milia