Kiswahili

Tanzania is a bilingual country where Kiswahili and English is spoken.

Kiswahili is spoken in East Africa and in part of Burundi, Congo, Zambia and Rwanda. Tourists will find their way easily in Tanzania, as English is widely spoken, but it will be a bonus to learn some kiswahili phrases and words. It might also win you a few friends.

The language is relatively easy to learn. Words are pronounced as they are written. Here are some basic expressions.

Meeting people

Eating & drinking

English Kiswahili English Kiswahili
Hi/Hello Habari/Jambo Food Chakula
How are you? (to one person) Hujambo? Hungry Njaa
I'm fine Sijambo Thirsty Kiu
How are all of you? Hamjambo? Rice Wali
We're fine Hatujambo Chicken Kuku
Excuse me Samahani Chips Chipsi
Thank you (very much) Asante (sana) Meat Nyama
Yes Ndiyo Vegetables Mboga
No Hapana Fish Samaki
Good Nzuri Bread Mkate
Good night Usiku mwema Eggs Mayai
Later on Baadaye Water Maji
(Until) Tomorrow Kesho Milk Maziwa
No Problem Hakuna shida (tatizo) Tea Chai
Slowly Polepole Coffee Kahawa
Quickly Haraka Fruit Matunda
Let's go Twende Banana Ndizi
Danger Hatari Mango Embe
I am tired Nimechoka Orange Chungwa
I am sick Ninaumwa Cold Baridi
White person Mzungu Warm Moto
Asian person Wahindi

Common objects

Animals

English Kiswahili English Kiswahili
Cloth(es) Nguo Lion Simba
Ash tray Eshtrei Zebra Punda Milia
Bag Mfuko Sable Palapala
Board (wood) Ubao Snake Nyoka
Box Boksi Sheep Kondoo
Shoe Viatu Roan Kolongo
Cork Kizibo Rat Panya
Pillow Mto Guinea-fowl Kanga
Bed Kitanda Hare Sungura
Firewood Kuni Leopard Chui
Toilet Choo Hartebeest Kongoni
Towel Taulo Hyena Fisi
Telephone Simu Goat Mbuzi
Ring Pete Chicken Kuku
Scissors Mkasi Fish Samaki
Stone Jiwe Giraffe Twiga
(Sun)glasses Miwani (ya jua) Horse Farasi
Mosquito net Chandarua Hippo Kiboko
Needle Sindana Frog Chura
Iron (for ironing) Pasi Dog Mbwa
Rope (sisal) Katani Crocodile Mamba
Rope (any kind) Kamba Donkey Punda
Penknife Kisu cha kukunja Cow Ng'ombe
(Wrist)watch Saa (yaa mkono) Buffalo Nyati
Washbasin Sinki la kunawia Baboon Nyani
Umbrella Mwavuli Elephant Tembo
Padlock Kufuli Rhino Kifaru
Leather Ngozi Bird Ndege
Silk Hariri Bee Nyuki
(Shoe)lace Kamba (ya viatu) Wildebeest Nyumbu
Thread Uzi Cheetah Duma

Colors

Journey

English Kiswahili English Kiswahili
Grey Kijivu Road Barabara
Green Kijani Motorcar Gari
Yellow Manjano Bicycle Baisikeli
Brown Kahawia Train Treni
Black Nyeusi Bus Basi
White Nyeupe Baggage Mizigo
Red Nyekundu Airport Uwanja wa ndege
Blue Bluu Plane Ndege
Silver Fedha Boat/ferry Meli

Numbers

English Kiswahili English Kiswahili
One Moja Eleven Kumi na moja
Two Mbili Twelve Kumi na mbili
Three Tatu Thirteen Kumi na tatu
Four Nne Twenty Ishirini
Five Tanu Twenty-one Ishirini na moja
Six Sita Thirty Thelatini
Seven Saba Fourty Arobaini
Eight Nane Hundred Mia
Nine Tisa Two hundred Mia mbili
Ten Kumi Thousand Elfu