Swahili, also known by its native name Kiswahili, is a Bantu language and the native language of the Swahili people.It is a lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of East and Southern Africa, including Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, some parts of Malawi, Somalia, Zambia, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
- Basic Facts About Swahili
- History of The Swahili Language
- Languages Related to Swahili
- The Swahili Alphabet
- Can Swahili Be A Unifying African Language?
Swahili is one of the most spoken languages in Africa. Varying resources put the speakers up to 100M — but interestingly, very few of these (as few as 5M) are native speakers. Instead, Swahili is a lingua franca, used in communication spanning ethnic and geographic communities. It is the second-largest such language in the continent, after Arabic. Though the name Swahili comes from Arabic, meaning ‘of the coast’, it refers to both the people and the language. The name comes from the Arabic word sawaahili(سواحلي), which means “of the coasts”, which you would use to refer to coastal people. When you add the ki– prefix to the word to form Kiswahili, it changes the meaning to “language of the coastal people”. Kiswahiliis what we call the language when speaking Swahili.
Swahili is originally an African language of Bantu origin. “Bantu” refers to people who speak Bantu languages. This is a huge language group, comprising between 440 and 680 languages (depending on definitions) and with 350 million speakers, about 30% of the population of Africa. Other major Bantu languages are Zulu (27M speakers), Shona (~14M speakers) and Xhosa (20M speakers). The map of countries covered by Bantu languages is quite huge —it’s basically most of sub-Saharan Africa. Languages in the Bantu family are mostly not mutually intelligible (see this thread on Quorawith people discussing the question). But they have related components and structures, just like European or Romance languages do. For example, all Bantu languages (including Swahili) share the concept of suffixes to denominate class, somewhat like grammatical gender in European languages. And when hearing basic numbers and nouns in a new Bantu language, you’re more likely to come across similar words (than if you...
The structure of Swahili is undeniably Bantu, a lot of the vocabulary has been borrowed from English, Arabic and Farsi.
The Swahili alphabet is mostly the same as the one used in English, after romanization by German missionaries. Here’s the Swahili alphabet and how to pronounce it.
Swahili is already mostly a lingua franca, rather than a language indigenous to one ethnic group. So some proponents of the language want it to be an African language rather than one for just a few countries and regions. Swahili is already a compulsory subject in schools in many countries, and an optional one in others (such as South Africa). According to The East African though, for people to adopt Swahili across Africa, people need to be less “jittery” about local slang and variances. In 2004, the then-president of the African Union gave his farewell address the Union in Swahili. He surprised the audience, and even the conference organisers, who had to scramble to find live translators. He did it to urge Africans to adopt a national language, proposing Swahili. Different sources say different things about whether Swahili is an official language of the African Union or not — Wikipedia says it isn’t because it wasn’t ratified by two-thirds of member states, but various articles sugg...
Most languages spoken in Africa belong to one of three large language families: Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan and Niger–Congo.Another hundred belong to smaller families such as Ubangian (sometimes grouped within Niger-Congo) and the various families called Khoisan, or the Indo-European and Austronesian language families mainly spoken outside Africa; the presence of the latter two dates to 2,600 ...
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Dec 08, 2011 · Swahili is spoken by more than 60 million people (5 million people speak it as their mother tongue) and is the most widely known language in Africa after Arabic. It is used as a vehicular language in much of East Africa and is the official language of five nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Comoros, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Feb 01, 2015 · 1. It’s the national language of Tanzania and Kenya. Many people in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and the Comoros speak Swahili as well, so it’s a great language to know throughout much of Africa. 2. Swahili belongs to the family of languages referred to as Bantu languages.
Jun 11, 2018 · The language spoken by Swahili people is known as KiSwahili, and it belongs to the Bantu family of languages. The language is a complex blend of Arabic wording and a variety of other languages. In addition, many Swahili people also speak English professionally.
Apr 15, 2019 · If they didn’t, people would chastise them publicly, saying things like “Hebrew (man), speak Hebrew!” (ivrit, daber ivrit! /עברי, דבר עברית). When Israel was established as a state in 1948 after the British decided to end their mandate, the vast majority of people living there spoke Hebrew either as a first or second language ...
- SWAHILI. Swahili is the most spoken language in Africa, with over 100 million speakers. It is a Bantu language believed to have originated from other languages, mainly Arabic, due to historical interactions between Arabs from the Middle East and East Africans.
- AMHARIC. Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia and is the second most spoken language in the country after Oromo, with over 21 million speakers.
- YORUBA. Yoruba is one of West Africa’s most spoken languages, accounting for over 30 million speakers in Nigeria, Benin and Togo, and it is one of Nigeria’s official languages.
- OROMO. Oromo is spoken by over 30 million people in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Egypt. The Oromo people account for more than 40% of the Ethiopian population, and are the largest ethnic group in the country.
Advantages of language exchange learning include: Learning the real Swahili language (slang, expressions, etc.) used by ordinary native speakers Getting accustomed to the way native speakers speak in real (casual) Swahili conversation Making a friend in the Swahili-speaking culture.