The following guide will let you try out some basic Swahili:

USEFUL GREETINGS

Jambo or HujamboHello, good day, how are you? (multy-purpose greeting, means”problems?”)
Jambo or Sijambo(the response)No problems
Habari?How are things? (literally”news?”)
NzuriFine, good, terrible
Hodi!Hellow? Anyone in? (said on knocking or entering)
KaribuCome in, enter, welcome(also said on offering something)
Kwaheri/ niGoodbye to one/ many
Asante/ niThank you to one/ many
SanaVery(acommon emphasis)
BwanaMister, the equivalent of monsieur in French
MamaLike the French madame or madamoiselle, for adult women
KijanaYouth, teenager(pl,vijana)
MtotoChild, kid(pl,watoto)
Jina lako nani?What’s your name?/ What
Unaitwaje?Are you called?

BASICS

My name is / I am calledJina langu ni/ Ninaitwa
Where are you from?Unatoka wapi?
Where are you staying?Unakaa wapi
I am fromNinatoka
I am staying (at / in).Ninakaa
See youTutaonana ( Lit. “We shall meet”)
YesNdiyo (Lit. it is so)
NoHapana
I don’t understandSifahamu / Sielewi
I don’t speak Swahili butSisemi Kiswahili, lakini
How so you say in Swahili?Unasemaje na Kiswahili
Could you repeat that?Sema tena (Lit. speak again)
Speak slowlySema pole pole
I don’t knowSijui
Where?Wapi?
HereHapa
When?Lini?
NowSasa
SoonSasa hivi
Why?Kwa nini?
BecauseKwa sababu
Who?Nani?
What?Nini?
Which?Gani?
Truekweli
And/withna
Orau
(It) is (they) areNi (a useful connector when you
cant think of any)
Isn’t it?Siyo?
I’m British / American / German / French / ItalianMimi Mwingereza / Mwamerika / Mdachi / Mfaransa / Mwitaliano

DAILY NEEDS

Where can I stay?Naweza Kukaa wapi?
Can I stay here?Naweza kukaa hapa?
Room/sChumba/vyumba
Bed/sKitanda/vitanda
Chair/sKiti/viti
Table/sMeza
Toilet, bathroomChoo, bafu
Washing waterMaji ya kuosha
Hot/cold waterMaji moto/baridi
I’m hungryNinasikia njaa
I’m thirstyNina kiu
Is there any?Iko… or Kuna?…
Yes there is…Iko…or kuna…
No there isn’t anyHakuna
How much?Ngapi?
moneyPesa
What price?Bei gani?
How much does it cost?Pesa Ngapi?
I want…Nataka
I don’t wantSitaki
Give me/Bring me (can I have?)Nipe/Niletee
AgainTena
EnoughTosha/basi
ExpensiveGhali/sana
Cheap(also”easy”)Rahisi
Fifty centsSumni
Reduce the price,come down a littlePunguza kidogo
ShopDuka
BankBenki
Post officePosta
Café,restaurantHoteli
TelephoneSimu
CigarettesSigara
I’m illMimi mgonjwa
DoctorDaktari
HospitalHospitali
PolicePolisi

RAVEL AND DIRECTIONS

Bus/esBas,basi / mabasi
Car /s, Vehicle/ sGari/ Magari
TaxiTeksi
BicycleBaiskeli
TrainTreni
PlaneNdege
Boat / ShipChombo / Meli
PetrolPetroli
Road, pathNjia/ ndia
HighwayBarabara
On foot/ WalkingKwa miguu
When does it leaveInaondoka lini?
When will you arrive?Tutafika lini?
SlowlyPolo pole
Fast, quicklyHaraka
Wait! / hang on a moment!Ngoja!/ ngoja kidogo!
Stop!Simama!
Where are you goingUnaenda wapi
To where?Mpaka wapi?
From where?Kutoka wapi?
How many kilometers?Kilometa ngapi?
I’m going toNaenda
Move along, squeeze up a littleSonga!/ songa kidogo!
Let’s go, carry onTwende, endelea
Straight aheadMoja kwa moja
RightKulia
LeftKushoto
UpJuu
DownChini
I want to get off hereNataka kushuka hapa
The car has broken downGari imearibika

TIME CALENDAR AND NUMBER

What time is it?Saa ngapi
Four o’clockSaa nne
Quarter pastNa robo
Half pastNa nusu
Quarter toKasa robo
MinutesDakika
EarlyMapema
YesterdayJana
TodayLeo
TomorrowKesho
Day timeMchana
Night timeUsiku
DawnAlfagiri
MorningAsubuhi
Last/ this/ next weekWiki iliopita/ hii/ ijayo
This yearMwaka huu
This monthMwezi huu
MondayJumatatu
TuesdayJumanne
WednesdayJumatano
ThursdayAlhamisi
FridayIjumaa
SaturdayJumamosi
SundayJumapili
1Moja
2Mbili
3Tatu
4Nne
5Tano
6Sita
7Saba
8Nane
9Tisa
10Kumi
11Kumi na moja
12Kumi na mbili
20Ishirini
21Ishirini na moja
30Thelathini
40Arobaini
50Hamsini
60Sitini
70Sabini
80Themanini
90Tisini
100Mia moja
121Mia moja na ishirini na moja
1000Elfu

SIGNS

Danger!Hatari!
Warning!Angalia!/ Onyo!
Fierce dog!Mbwa mkali!
No entry!Hakuna njia!

WORDS WORTH KNOWING

Good-zuri(with a prefix at the front)
Bad-baya(ditto)
Big-kubwa
Small-dogo
A lot of-ingi
Other/ AnotherIngine
Not badSi mbaya
Ok, right, fineSawa
Fine, coolSafi
CompletelyKabisa
Just, onlyTu(kitanda kimoja tu-just ona bed)
Thing/ sKitu/ vitu
Problems, hasslesWasiwasi, matata
No problemHakuna wasiwasi/ Hakuna matata
FriendRafiki
Sorry, pardonSamahani
It’s nothingSi kitu
Excuse me (let me through)Hebu
What’s up?Namna gani?
If God wills itInshallah (heard often on the coast)
PleaseTafadhali
Take a picture of me!Piga picha mimi!
Help the poor!Saidia maskini!