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Useful Swahili phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Swahili, a Bantu language spoken in much of east Africa by about 140 million people.

Click on the English phrases to see them in many other languages.

Key to abbreviations: sg = singular (said to one person), pl = plural (said to more than one person), inf = informal

English kiSwahili (Swahili)
Welcome Karibu (sg) Karibuni (pl)
Hello Habari (inf)
Hujambo (sg) Hamjambo (pl) Sijambo (reply)
How are you? Habari? Hujambo?
Habari yako?
Habari gani?
Fine thanks, and you? Nzuri / Sijambo
What's your name? Jina lako ni nani?
My name is ... Jina langu ni ...
Where are you from? Unatoka wapi?
I'm from ... Natoka ...
Pleased to meet you Nafurahi kukuona / Nimefurahi kukutana nawe
Good morning Habari ya asubuhi
Good afternoon Habari ya mchana
Good evening Habari ya jioni
Good night Usiku mwema / Lala salama (sleep well)
Goodbye Kwaheri
Good luck Kila la kheri!
Cheers/Good health! Maisha marefu! Afya! Vifijo!
Have a nice day Nakutakia siku njema!
Bon appetit Ufurahie chakula chako (sg)
Furahieni chakula chenu (pl)
Bon voyage Safari njema!
I understand Naelewa
I don't understand Sielewi
Please speak more slowly Tafadhali sema polepole
Please write it down Waweza kuiandika?
Do you speak English? Unazungumza kiingereza?
Do you speak Swahili?> Unazungumza kiSwahili?
Yes, a little Ndiyo, kidogo tu
How do you say ... in Swahili? Unasemaje ... kwa Kiswahili?
Excuse me Samahani nipishe (to get past)
Samahani (to get attention or say sorry)
How much is this? Hii ni bei gani?
Sorry Samahani
Please Tafadhali
Thank you Asante
Asante sana (sg)
Asanteni (pl)
You're welcome Asante kushukuru
No thanks La asante
Where's the toilet? Choo kiko wapi?
This gentleman/lady will pay for everything Mtu huyu atalipia kila kitu
Would you like to dance with me? Tucheze ngoma? Utapenda kudansi?
I love you Ninakupenda
Get well soon Ugua pole
Help! Unasemaje ... kwa Kiswahili?
Fire! Moto!
Stop! Usifanye hivyo!
Call the police! Mwite polisi!
Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year
Krismasi Njema / Heri ya krismas
Heri ya mwaka mpya
Happy Easter Heri kwa sikukuu ya Pasaka
Happy Birthday Nakutakia mema kwa siku yako ya kuzaliwa!
Siku-kuo ya zaliwa njema! Furaha Ya Siku Ya Kuza Liwa!
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
Gari langu linaloangama limejaa na mikunga
One language is never enough Lugha moja haitoshi

Corrections, recordings and some translations by Ylanne Sorrows and Rushomesa Remigius

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

Information about Swahili | Swahili phrases | Tower of Babel in Swahili | Swahili learning materials

Links

Other collections of Swahili phrases
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/other/swahili/guide/phrases.shtml
http://www.glcom.com/hassan/lessons/useful_swahili_words.html
http://goafrica.about.com/od/peopleandculture/a/swahili.htm
http://wikitravel.org/en/Swahili_phrasebook


Learn Swahili: For Beginners and Travellers

Learn Swahili: For Beginners and Travellers

by G. O. Oyoo

- includes details of the Swahili alphabet and pronunciation; a guide to Swahili pronouns, sentence structure and sentence construction; useful words and phrases in various scenarios, and an English-Swahili dictionary.

Buy from: Payhip.com


Phrases in Niger-Congo languages

Ewe, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, Lozi, Ndebele (Northern), Sesotho, Shona, Swahili, Tswana, Tumbuka, Wolof, Xhosa, Yorùbá, Zulu

Phrases in other languages


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