language script

The Swahili language: History & Useful Phrases

Swahili is one of the two official languages spoken in Kenya as well as in other parts of East Africa. What is its history? How someone can learn how to speak and write?

Kenya is a multilingual country with many indegenous languages. There are about 62 languages spoken in the country.

However, the official languages are Swahili and English.

The Swahili language or Kiswahili is spoken by around 60 million people in East Africa.

Some Swahili vocabulary is derived from Arabic through more than twelve centuries of contact with Arabic-speaking inhabitants of the coast of southeastern Africa. It has also incorporated Persian, German, Portuguese, English, and French words into its vocabulary through contact during the past five centuries.

Swahili serves as a national, or official language, of five nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Comoros and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Source:

The word “Swahili” was used by early Arab visitors to the coast and it means “the coast”. Ultimately it came to be applied to the people and the language (Source:

How to say…. in Swahili

There are many websites that may help someone to learn the language.  To get you started we have found the most common and useful phrases:

Hello! =  Jambo

Welcome = Karibu

What’s your name = Jina lako ni nani?

My name is… = Jina langu ni…

Do you speak English? = Unazungumza kiingereza?

How much is this? = Hii ni bei gani?

Thank you = Asante

Are you fine? = Salama?

How are you? = Hujambo?

I am fine = Sijambo

Goodbye = Kwa heri!