Monday, August 27, 2012

Learning Swahili

I always find it real exciting to learn a new language. Knowing even some words from the local language elicit a lot of warmth from the locals. And this principle applies to the entire globe. During my recent trip to Kenya, I did manage to learn some Swahili words especially around the activities that I was engaging in and to form my basic language survival kit. I did manage to listen to some audio tapes prior to reaching Kenya, but as always first-hand experience and a local connect is the best way to learn a new language. Here are some random words, phrases and sentences that I managed to learn and remember during my Kenya holiday. And if you look closely, you will find that some words are similar to Hindi. This could be either because a lot of Hindi speaking Indians migrated to Kenya two centuries back or the common Arabic/Persian influence into both our respective languages.

Chakula Food
Asante Thank you
Asante Saana Thank you very much
Karibu Welcome
Karibu Saana Welcome very much
Thwende Let’s go
Kapisaa Put the gun to the metal or floor it or press the accelerator
Pole Pole Slowly
Chakula Chamchana Lunch
Samahani Excuse me
Keeingereza English
Hapana No
Lala Salama Sleep well/ Sleep tight/Good night
Safiri Salama Have a safe journey
Duma Cheetah
Simba Lion
Chui Leopard
Nyati Cape Buffalo
Kifaroo Rhinoceros
Ndorvoo Elephant
Baynkee Bank
Ni Bei gaani How much is it?
Wapee Where?
Polisi Police
Asubuhi Morning
Mchaana Afternoon
Jioni Evening
Pasipoti Passport
Choo Toilet
Maridadi Beautiful
Hakuna Matata No worries
Pesa Money
Hakuna Pesa Hakuna Matata No Money No Worries
Heka Pesa Heka Matata More Money More Worries
Ni Sawa That’s fine
Saawa Okay
Sawa Sawa (2nd most common word) OK OK
Bareedee Cold
Dooka Shop
Matatu Public van
Bota Bota Public Motorcycle Taxi
Jaambo (Most commonly used word) Hello
Beema Insurance
Kliniki Clinic
Dawa Medicine (also a vodka based drink)
Saboonee Soap
Majee Water
Choopa Bottle
Sifuri Zero
Mohja One
Nyama Meat
Nyama Choma Meat grilled over charcoal
Chapati Flat Indian Whole Wheat Bread
Chai Tea
Pili Pili Green Chillies (Hot Pepper)
Sukuma Wiki Green Vegetables
Kachumbari Mixed Vegetables
Ugali Steamed Maize Cake
Mazeewa Milk
Githeri Dish that is made of mashed potatoes, maize and beans
Irio Mashed Potatoes with greens
Sookaaree Sugar

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