Do Ugandans speak Swahili

The most important words for a trip to Uganda

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If you use a few words in Swahili to start a conversation on your Uganda trip, you will probably have to switch to English in order to be able to exchange a little more.

A little Swahili

On your trip through Uganda you will have the opportunity to discover one of the most widely spoken Bantu languages: Swahili. Swahili is the official language here. Swahili is a successful mixture of Arabic and Bantu. It is spoken mainly in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, but also in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and in the huge Democratic Republic of the Congo.

To be completely honest, you will have a lot of trouble speaking Swahili. However, once you acquire the basic vocabulary, the numbers and greetings, you will find that Swahili is not that difficult after all. If you use a few words of this beautiful language with your interlocutors, you will make them even more curious and will undoubtedly be well received. If you get started without reservation, the encounters will be even more cordial. If you read a list of basic vocabulary you will know certain words like Hakuna Matata, Safari, or Daktari. And already you speak Swahili!

Everything else in English

After you've managed to say a few common Swahili greetings, you may be able to move on. You will then have no choice but to switch to English.

The Shakespeare language is the second official national language. All Ugandans speak English very well, especially those who work in tourism or those who often deal with travelers, such as taxi drivers or traders. If this is not your case, you should practice a little before leaving and, if there is no other option, use a German-English dictionary. You will find that the local accent sounds very different from English. Even if this causes difficulties at the beginning, you get used to it quickly.

Basic idioms / common expressions

GermanSwahili
Good day good eveningJambo
How are you?Habari gani?
Good thanks and you?Vizuri sana, asante, well wewe?
I understand / I don't understandNina fahamu / Sina fahamu
sorryPole
Good-byeKwaheri
Good daycaribou
Many ThanksAsante sana
Excuse me pleaseSamahani
My name is...Ninaitwa
no thanksHapana asante
Yes NoNdiyo / Hapana
Here you goTafadhali / shika

Trade / Buy

GermanSwahili
How much does it cost?At gani?
That is a good priceAt nafuu
It is too expensiveGhali sana
Can you bring the price down?Unaweza kupunguza at?
I would like to buy thisNinataka nunua
I like it / I don't like itNinapenda / Sina penda
moneyPesa
Just browsing.Ninatazama do

Mode of Transport

GermanSwahili
I want to go to ...Ninataka enda
planeNdege
boatMashua
trainTreni
taxitaxi
busBasi
I want to rent a ...Ninataka kodi
motorcyclePikipiki
automobileGari
bicycleBaiskeli

Directions

GermanSwahili
Where is ...? / How do I get to / to ...?Wapi? / Vipi enda?
BankBenki
railway stationStesheni
City centerKatikati ya mji
hotelHoteli
hospitalHospitali
Is it far?Ni caribou? / Ni mbali?
straightMoja kwa moja
Left RightKushoto / Kulia
North South West EastNe se traduit pas

numbers

GermanSwahili
one two three four five six seven eight nine tenmoja, mbili, tatu, nne, tano, sita, saba, nane, tisa, kumi
twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixtyishirini, thelathini, arobaini, hamsini, sitini
seventy, eighty, ninetysabini, themathini, tisini
Hundredmia

Times / date and days

GermanSwahili
What time is it?Wakati gani?
When?Lini?
YesterdayJana
Today (tomorrow / noon / evening)Leo (asubuhi / mchana / jioni)
tomorrowKecho
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday SundayJumatatu, jumanne, jumatano, alhamisi, ijumaa, jumamosi, jumapili
I'm on vacation hereNinalikizoni / safarini
I am here to workNinakazikwa

To table!

GermanSwahili
I'm hungry / I'm thirstyNina njaa / nina kiu
Good AppetiteKufurahia mlo wako
Bottom up!Maisha marefu!
It was great!Ladha!
What do you recommend?Nini ushauri?
I'm vegetarianNina mboga
Not sharp! (I don't like it spicy)Viungo bila!
It is too hot!Moto sana!
I have an allergyNe se traduit pas
seafoodDagaa
peanutsKaranga
glutenNe se traduit pas
I take / I would like to haveNinataka
waterMaji
Tea / coffeeChaï / kahawa
Beer WineBia / mvinyo
The Bill pleaseAidha tafadhali

Health / Emergency / Safety

GermanSwahili
I have to see a doctorNinahaja ona daktari
Call a doctor / ambulanceIta daktari
Where is the hospital?Hospitali wapi?
I do not feel goodSina sana
I am in pain hereUnaniuma
Where are the restrooms?Jisaidia wapi?
Help!Nipateni!
policePolisi
dangerHatari
I've lost my wayNinapotea

Other

GermanSwahili
Good day !Siku nzuri!
408 posts
Updated October 8, 2018
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