Advice for Learning Kiswahili


Mar 28th, 2010, 07:11 PM
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Advice for Learning Kiswahili

I've been accepted to study abroad in Kenya from August-December this year, and my goal is to become respectably fluent in Kiswahili before I am on the plane. I want to know more than the basics, i want to be able to carry out REAL conversations in Kiswahili. I was wondering what tips people could give me as far as effective methods of learning the language within that time frame, whether it be through books, software, or even pen-pal websites. Ex: "Teach Yourself" books vs. Rosetta Stone vs. reading kid's books in Kiswahili, etc. Thanks for your time!

Jonzania is offline  
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Mar 29th, 2010, 04:15 AM
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hi jonzania - i haven't been on this forum for a very long time...but can respond to your post as i do have some advise. i am currently in TZ, have been having lessons with a private teacher for a while now, plus speaking as much as possible generally. am now at intermediate stage, but it took a while. appreciate that it's unlikely for you to have lessons before you arrive, so - for me - what really worked was the listening CDs. i know people here who say the rosetta stone set of dvds are very good (quite expensive i think, but apparently the teaching method is good).

what i have had in my car driving to/from work is the 'swahili for beginners' self-study listening course, from the kiswahili na utamaduni (KIU) school in dar es salaam. i bought it some time ago from dar airport. why don't you mail [email protected] and ask if its possible to get copies of the cds abroad, or if they would mail them to you? i wrote to them a while ago to see if they had an intermediate listening course (they don't, but they replied back straight away). i have found this particular language course really really useful and it's worked very well for me. admittedly the private lessons have also helped, but i would recommend the KIU set of CDs as a really good place to start.

hope that helps, cheers
Chagall is offline  
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Mar 29th, 2010, 05:03 AM
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Rosetta Stone will give you decent grounding in the basics.

Rather than buy the product, I found out that our county library has all the RS courses available for free, online, for card holders. So check out your local lib, too.
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Mar 29th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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Great tips, NoFly & Chagall. I've been putting off getting Rosetta Stone because of the cost.

If you don't mind sharing, I'd be interested in knowing what type of work you are doing in Tz Chagall, and what course you'll be doing in Kenya, Jonzania.
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Mar 30th, 2010, 10:26 AM
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I will be taking 4 courses: Environment and Development in East Africa, Intro to the History of Modern Kenya, a Swahili class, and possibly a Biodiversity Conservation and Management in East Africa class. I wanted to learn Swahili before i take the class, that way i won't have a period in limbo, where i know a little Swahili, but not enough to do anything with it.

I, too, have put off getting Rosetta Stone because of its costs. I would spend the $$$ if i knew it was the best option, though.

Chagall, how much did that self studying listening course cost you? That sounds like a good idea.

Jonzania is offline  
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Mar 31st, 2010, 06:39 AM
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I second NoFlyZone's suggestion: ask your library. Our regional library has an on-line program available as well -- called BYKI (Before You Know It). I've not looked at the Swahili part, but find the French section to be a very thorough teaching method.
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Mar 31st, 2010, 06:56 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I checked my library yesterday and though they didn't have Rosetta Stone, they had a few, lesser known programs available. They also had multiple kids books in Swahili. Those should be helpful in learning counting and days of the week.
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Mar 31st, 2010, 12:31 PM
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Question for NoFlyZone: Did you go through the Kiswahili Rosetta Stone course? I'm most of the way through the first (of nine) units; from what I see looking ahead, it seems to cover a fair amount of territory. While I'll need to find someone that speaks the language to get close to comfortable with real conversation, I'm thinking I'll get my money's worth out of the product. Learning a language at 55 is way different from learning in your early teens, yikes. To get through the RS, you have to be willing to commit some time to it.

We used the Pimsleur CD's before our second trip to East Africa, and they really don't give you enough to do much more than amuse your driver guide and the service staff at the camps. But it was better than nothing!

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Apr 7th, 2010, 05:28 AM
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hi jonzania, i think it was about Tsh 50,000 (Tanzania shillings) - probably around $55 US.
it will really give you a very good grounding in the basics, which you can then add to with lessons or whatever, when you get here. good luck and have fun!!
Chagall is offline  
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Apr 7th, 2010, 05:51 AM
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sorry, meant to write - around $45 US
Chagall is offline  
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Jan 26th, 2012, 02:55 PM
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Hello. I am a student having to learn a few Kiswahili phrases. Can anyone tell me what the following are in Kiswahili?
-How are you
-See you later
-I need water
-Nice to meet you
-Good night
Are there any more basic Kiswahili phrases? If so, what are they in Kiswahili and in English?
Thank you so much!
Kathleen88 is offline  
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Jan 26th, 2012, 04:02 PM
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Posts: 14,440
-Hello = Jambo
-How are you = Habari Gana
-Fine(response) = Mzuri
-Goodbye = Kwa Heri

-See you later = Tutaonana (I never used this word)

-I need water : water = maji and "water please" = tafadhali maji

-Nice to meet you

-Good night = usika mwema


Check out the the famous Jambo Bwana song on youtube with some translations
atravelynn is offline  
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Apr 15th, 2012, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Hello everyone
Do any of you know an acceptable price for learning (kis)swahili in beginner and intermediate level?
And how long would it be possible for me to learn it? (I'm 22 and when I was i Tanzania last year a felt it easy to learn the basic frases plus some)
Hope to hear from someone so I know that I'm not paying too much. So far, I found a place that cost 10$/hour/person -Think it's a bit expensive.
Mille, DK
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