Black Men : What is Swahili?

Discussion in 'Black Men - Fathers - Brothers - Sons' started by Keita Kenyatta, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. Keita Kenyatta

    Keita Kenyatta going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Along the eastern coast of Africa from Somalia to Mozambique are a number of old Swahili towns. Visitors will see on the foreshore or on small offshore islands, their whitewashed houses of coral, a number of small mosques where men from the immediate neighborhood gather in their white gowns and small embroidered caps for prayers and outside of which they gather afterwards to discuss town affairs in measured tones. Women are rarely seen outside except in the evenings when they discreetly visit with their female relatives and friends.
    The Swahili coast has a long history of involvement with the outside world, dating back to the first millennium after Christ. Trading dhow have sailed down this coast from the Arabian peninsular and the Persian Gulf following the annual northeast monsoon to trade pottery, cloth, and iron tools for African slaves, ivory, gold, timber, shells, dyes, and perfumes. Their home bound journey followed the shift of the monsoon winds to the southeast.
    Although the Swahili language is widely spoken in East Africa, the concentration is in towns scattered along the coastline. Coastal Swahili speakers often stress their difference between themselves and their neighbors, emphasizing their descent from immigrants from Shiraz Persia and from Arabia who had come centuries earlier to the African coast to trade and who stayed to settle, build coral towns, live a sophisticated urban life, and rule.
    The Swahili civilization dates back to at least the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. When the Europeans visited the coast in the nineteenth century, Swahili towns appeared to be products of a Persian and Arab Diaspora that had spread around the Indian Ocean. There were extensive and elaborate buildings and a large scale of imports of Islamic and Chinese pottery.
    These lasted until the Portuguese destroyed a number of towns during the sixteenth century in their attempt to control the Indian Ocean trade routes. This is one of the main causes for the decline of the coastal habitat of the Swahili people, a clear evidence being the towns of Kilwa and Mafia on the coast of Tanzania. Visitors can see many ruins in Mombasa (Kenya), Zanzibar and Bagamoyo (Tanzania) which are preserved by the government and which stand as a reminder of the early influences of the Arabs, Portuguese and Chinese.
    Scholars claim that Swahili is a combination of a number of languages. Some have even claimed that Swahili has Arabic origin. While the term Swahili has its origin from Arabic, Sahel or Sawahel, which means coast, the language of the people, and which is referred to by the speakers as Kiswahili, has characteristics of Bantu languages. Not only has Swahili borrowed heavily from Arabic but also from many European languages. The basic sound system and grammar is closely related to Bantu languages of northeast Tanzania, Kenya, and the Comoro Islands.
    Swahili is the lingua franca of Tanzania and Kenya. In Tanzania, it is used for instruction at the primary school level and some subjects at the secondary school level. In Tanzania, more than Kenya, it is the language of official government business and most formal situations. It is used in the market place, church, meetings and rallies. There is a substantial literature in the language especially novels and poems. Both the government and private news groups publish daily papers in Kiswahili exposing the language variations that exist among the Swahili speakers.
    There are a few dialects which are distinct from standard Swahili. These dialects are spoken in Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire, and some parts of Mozambique. Because of Tanzania's involvement with refugees from countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa, Swahili dialects can be found in these regions too. of the . In addition there are some dialects spoken in mainland Tanzania and Kenya and in several neighboring countries.
    Sample Swahili Text: Greetings
    > >


    A: Hujambo. Hi/Hello.
    B: Sijambo. Hi/Hello.
    A: Habari gani? How are you (lit. what are the news)?
    B: Habari nzuri (sana). Good (very).
    B: Na wewe je? How about you(yourself)?
    A: Mzima. Fine (lit. I am healthy).
    B: Nyumbani hawajambo? Is everyone at home well?
    A: Wote hawajambo. All are fine.
    A: Habari za kazi? How is (your) work?
    B: Kazi inaendelea vizuri. Work is fine (lit. work is going well).
    A: Haya, tutaonana. O.k. we will see each other again (later).
    B: Haya, kwa heri ya kuonana. O.k.,Goodbye (lit. goodbye for to see each other again).


    The Swahili are a people and culture found on the coast of East Africa, mainly the coastal regions and the islands of Kenya and Tanzania, and north Mozambique. The name Swahili is derived from the Arabic word Sawahil, meaning "coastal dwellers", and they speak the Swahili language. They also speak the official languages of their respective countries: English in Tanzania and Kenya, Portuguese in Mozambique, Somali in Somalia, and French in Comoros. Note that only a small fraction of those who use Swahili are first language speakers and even fewer are ethnic Swahilis
    Definition

    The Swahili are original Bantu inhabitants of the East African Coast mainly from Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. They are mainly united by culture and under the mother tongue of Kiswahili, a Bantu language.[1], [2] This also extends to Arab, Persian, and other migrants who reached the coast some believe as early as the 7th-8th c. CE, and mixed with the local people there, providing considerable cultural infusion and numerous loan words from Arabic and Persian.[3] Archaeologist, Felix Chami notes the presence of Bantu settlements straddling the East African coast as early as the beginning of the 1st millennium. They evolved gradually from the 6th century onward to accommodate for an increase in trade (mainly with Arab merchants), population growth, and further centralized urbanization; developing into what would later become known as the Swahili City-States.[4]
    The language is and remains today a language of trade between the interior and the coast, and government authorities over much of East Africa. In 1999, it was spoken as far away as the Ituri forest of the Congo and even Oman on the Persian Gulf. Many Germans in the military spoke it in colonial times, but at times badly, even recieving bonuses for the effort. Germany even sent teachers to Germany, for it was a main binding feature for the culture of the new colony. The European community was long convinced that Swahili was not African even after it had been recognized as Bantu. It was only when the population began mixing and developing that the language and people developed.
    Tension, stress, and conflict have been added to the already arrogant attitude of the Swahili towards the interior Africans, while by and large the two groups have little use for one another, for example, the hinterland, at the beginning of the 21st century, still has the tendency to regard the Swahili as an alien people.

    Swahili History

    Swahili history is tied to the region's natural resources and its position as a commercial go-between with the interior and the Indian Ocean. By the ninth century the annual monsoon winds would bring merchants along the coast to pick up sorghum, millet, rice and other cereals, while pots, courie shells, shell beads and textiles were exchanged with people or the interior for honey, cattle hides, and such luxuries as gold, copper, rock crystal and ivory.
    The Swahili civilization of East Africa reached its pinnacle between the 1300s and 1500s. Islam provided a connection between the elites and traders that helped East Africa into international commerce. Even the Chinese, under admiral Zheng; with perhaps 28,000 men, may have gotten as far as Kilwa. Two East African giraffes were received in Beijing, China, by way of Bengal, around 1415.
    Swahili culture, as a single entity was never politically unified. The petty states were in constant competition and whatever the nature of the elite the region was never able to get its act together and put up more than token resistance to outsiders. Colonization also brought increased immigration of Arabs, East Indians, and Europeans to East Africa Including the Germans. Members of the former elite, no longer in a position of control, continued to conspire against one another and allied themselves with colonizers through marriage, becoming political puppets. The defeated were hanged, or took refuge in hinterland hill fortresses.
    It was predominately an urban living style which took great wealth, and it was the slave and ivory trade that provided it. Two story coral houses and mosques, special quarters for the women, plumbing and bathrooms of cut coral, carvings in coral and wood, products of gold and silver, fabrics of silk and cotton, leather goods, furniture, fine iron work and, if possible, Chinese porcelains were all part of this style.
    They were, and are today, considered racists and culturally arrogant by the inland peoples. Valuing their unique identity has not created a happy relationship. Many Swahili cannot be distinguished physically from their upcountry neighbors, while many of the elite look partly or entirely Arabic, and some families still have links with Yemen and Oman. In fact, even though only 20 percent of their vocabulary comes from the Arabic, and their grammar is entirely Bantu, Swahili prefer to called either Shirazi, indicating a Persian Gulf origin, or Arab, thereby enhancing their prestige.




    ENGLISHSWAHILI
    I'd like a cold beer Tafadhali nataka
    bia [pombe] baridi
    Car
    Bicycle
    Motorbike
    Train
    Boat
    Aeroplane
    Petrol
    Mechanic Gari
    Baiskeli
    Pikipiki
    Gari la moshi
    Mashua
    Ndege [Eropleni]
    Petroli
    Fundi
    Coffee
    Tea
    with/without
    milk/sugar Kahawa
    Chai
    na/bila
    maziwa/sukari
    Danger! Hatari!
    Fetch a doctor
    ChemistIta daktari
    Duka la dawa
    Food
    Tin can
    Beef
    Bread
    Chicken
    Eggs
    Fish
    Flour
    Fruit
    Ice
    Meat
    Rice
    Salt
    Vegetables
    Water Chakula
    Kopo
    Ng'ombei
    Mkate
    Kuku
    Mayai
    Samaki
    Unga
    Matunda
    Barafu
    Nyama
    Wali
    Chumvi
    Mboga
    Maji
    Good
    Bad
    Quick
    Slow
    Hot (object)
    Hot (spicey food)
    Cold
    Big
    Small
    Open
    Closed
    Empty
    Full
    Very
    Absolutely Mzuri
    Mbaya
    Upesi
    Pole pole
    Moto
    Kali
    Baridi
    Kubwa
    Kidogo
    Fungua
    Funga
    Tupu
    Kujaa
    Sana
    Kabisa
    Hello
    Friend
    How are you?
    Very well
    And you?
    Where are you from?
    I'm from ...
    Good bye Jambo
    Rafiki
    Habari?
    Mzuri sana
    Na wewe?
    Unatoka wapi?
    Natoka ...
    Kwaheri
    Help! Nisaidia!
    I am hungry
    I am thirstyNina njaa
    Nina kiu
    I
    YouMimi
    Wewe
    There is
    There is notKuna
    Hakuna
    I'm just looking
    I don't want Mimi na angalia tu
    Sitaki
    Okay Sawa sawa
    Excuse me
    Please
    Thank you (very much)Samahani
    Tafadhali
    Asante (sana)
    Call the police Ita polisi
    No problem Hakuna matata
    Road
    River
    Lake
    Hill
    Valley Barabara
    Mto
    Ziwa
    Kilima
    Bonde
    Shop
    Money
    How much/many?
    (Too) expensive Duka
    Pesa
    Ngapi?
    Ghali (sana)
    Sir (polite) Bwana
    Sunday
    Monday
    Tuesday
    Wednesday
    Thursday
    Friday
    Saturday Jumapili
    Jumatatu
    Jumanne
    Jumatano
    Alhamisi
    Ijumaa
    Jumamosi
    Telephone Simu
    Tent
    Camp
    Matches
    Room Hema
    Kambi
    Viberiti
    Chumba
    Stop thief! Mwizi!
    Today
    Tonight
    Tomorrow
    Yesterday
    Morning
    Afternoon
    Evening
    Night
    Daytime
    Now
    Not yet
    Soon Leo
    Usiku
    Kesho
    Jana
    Asubuhi
    Alasiri
    Jioni
    Usiku
    Mchana
    Sasa
    Bado
    Sasa hivi
    Where are the toilets? Wapi choo?
    What?
    When?
    Where?
    Which?
    Who?
    Why?
    How do you say?
    I don't know
    I don't understand Nini?
    Lini?
    Wapi?
    Ipi?
    Nani?
    Kwa nini?
    Unasemaje?
    Sijui
    Sielewi
    Yes
    NoNdiyo
    Hapana




    Swahili Basics
    Swahili is one of the easiest languages to learn. Here are a few basic things to know about Swahili:
    Swahili verbs always carry with them the subject (and sometimes the object) and the tense. For example, Ninakula, is a complete sentence which means "I am eating". Ni--na- affix stands for "am" showing the tense i.e. the "present continuous" tense, and -kula is the root of the verb "eat". prefix stands for the subject "I", the
    Another example, Alitupa zawadi which means "He/She gave us gifts". First of all note that in the Swahili language, the pronouns are the same for all the genders - he, him, she, and her are not distinguishable in Swahili - same words, prefixes, affixes and suffixes are used. The well sought after "gender equality" is in-built in the Swahili language!! Now back to the sentence. The prefix A- stands for the subject "He" or "She", the -li- affix indicates the past tense, the -tu- affix stands for the object "us", and -pa is the root of the verb "give".
    More examples:

    Nilikula - I ate
    Nimekula - I have eaten
    Ninakula - I am eating
    Nitakula - I will eat



    Greetings




    Between peers: "Habari!" and the greeted answers, "Nzuri!".
    Between peers: "Hujambo?" (Are you fine?) and the greeted answers, "Sijambo!" (I'm fine!)
    Young to older: "Shikamoo!" (originally it meant "I touch your feet" as a sign of respect) and the greeted answers, "Marahabaa!" (I acknowledge your respect!).
    Personal Pronouns




    English Swahili
    I Mimi
    We Sisi
    You (singular) Wewe
    You (plural) nyinyi
    He Yeye
    She Yeye
    They Wao



    Common Dialogue




    Sentence/PhraseResponse
    Habari!
    (Hello!/Hi!)
    Nzuri!
    (Good!/Fine!)

    Ninaitwa Charles. Wewe unaitwaje?
    (My name is Charles. What's your name?)
    Ninaitwa Mary. Nimefurahi kukujua.
    (My name is Mary. I'm pleased to know you.)

    Unazungumza Kiswahili?
    (Do you speak Swahili?)
    Ndio! Ninazungumza Kiswahili.
    (Yes! I speak Swahili.)
    Kidogo tu!
    (Just a little bit!)
    Hapana! Sizungumzi Kiswahili. Ninazungumza Kiingereza tu!
    (No! I don't speak Swahili. I only speak English!)

    Ninatokea Marekani. Wewe unatokea wapi?
    (I'm from the United States of America. Where are you from?)
    Ninatokea Japani. Nipo hapa kwa matembezi.
    (I'm from Japan. I'm visiting here.)
    Ninatokea Uingereza. Nipo hapa kwa kazi.
    (I'm from U.K. I'm here on business.)
    Ninatokea Ujerumani. Nimekuja kujifunza Kiswahili.
    (I'm from Germany. I've come to learn Swahili.)

    Kwaheri! Nimefurahi kukutana na wewe.
    (Goodbye! I'm pleased to meet you.)
    Karibu! Nimefurahi pia kukutana na wewe.
    (Goodbye! I'm also pleased to meet you.)


    Utapenda kunywa nini?
    (What would you like to drink?)
    Nitakunywa maji tu. Nina kiu sana!
    (I'll just drink water. I'm very thirsty.)
    Nitakunywa kahawa bila maziwa.
    (I'll drink coffee without milk.)
    Nitakunywa chai na maziwa na sukari kidogo.
    (I'll drink tea with milk and little sugar.)
    Nitakunywa soda. CocaCola, tafadhali.
    (I'll drink soda. CocaCola, please.)

    Tafadhali niletee chakula moto haraka. Nina njaa sana!
    (Please bring me some hot food quickly. I'm very hungry!)
    Huu hapa wali, samaki, mbatata, na saladi. Nitakuletea keki baadaye.
    (Here is rice, fish, potatoes, and salad. I'll bring you cake later.)




    General Words and Phrases





    English Swahili
    And Na
    Bad Mbaya
    Bicycle Baiskeli
    Bitter Chungu
    Car Gari
    Cold Baridi
    Danger Hatari
    Drink (noun)
    Kinywaji

    Drink (verb)
    Kunywa

    Eat
    Kula

    Excuse me!
    Samahani!

    Food
    Chakula

    Friend
    Rafiki

    Good
    Nzuri

    Goodbye!
    Kwaheri!

    Help me, please!
    Nisaidie, tafadhali!

    Here
    Hapa

    Hot
    Moto

    How?
    Vipi?

    I am angry.
    Nimekasirika.

    I am traveling.
    Ninasafiri.

    I am happy.
    Nimefurahi.

    I can speak Swahili.
    Ninaweza kusema Kiswahili.

    I can't speak Swahili.
    Siwezi kusema Kiswahili.

    I love you!
    Ninakupenda!

    Motorcycle
    Pikipiki

    No!
    Hapana!

    OK!
    Sawa!

    Please
    Tafadhali

    Sorry! (apologize)
    Samahani!

    Sorry! (sympathize)
    Pole!

    Sweet
    Tamu

    Thank you!
    Asante!

    Thank you very much!
    Asante sana!

    There
    Pale

    Very
    Sana

    Water
    Maji

    Welcome!
    Karibu!

    What?
    Nini?

    When?
    Wakati gani?

    Where?
    Wapi?

    Where are you going to?
    Unakwenda wapi?

    Which?
    Ipi?

    Yes!
    Ndio!

    Days of the Week


    In Swahili, Saturday is the first day of the week. The sixth day of the week, Thursday, is mostly pronounced as "Alkhamisi" to match the way it is pronounced in its Arabic origin. Thursday and Friday both are of Arabic origin. They probably replaced the original Bantu names of those days due to their special place in the Islamic religion. Note that in Arabic, "Alkhamis" means the fifth day of the Arabic week while Thursday is actually the sixth day of the Swahili week! Sort of we ended up with two fifth days of the week: "Jumatano" and "Alkhamisi"!





    English Swahili
    Saturday
    Jumamosi (literally: first day of the week)

    Sunday Jumapili (literally: second day of the week)
    Monday Jumatatu (literally: third day of the week)
    Tuesday Jumanne (literally: fourth day of the week)
    Wednesday Jumatano (literally: fifth day of the week)
    Thursday Alhamisi (Arabic: fifth day of the week)
    Friday Ijumaa (Arabic: the day of congregational prayer)



    Numbers




    English Swahili
    English
    Swahili
    1
    Moja
    40

    Arubaini

    2
    Mbili
    50

    Hamsini

    3
    Tatu
    55

    Hamsini na tano

    4
    Nne
    60

    Sitini

    5
    Tano
    70

    Sabini

    6
    Sita
    80

    Thamanini

    7
    Saba
    90

    Tisini

    8

    Nane
    100

    Mia

    9

    Tisa
    136

    Mia moja thalathini na sita
    10

    Kumi
    999

    Mia tisa tisini na tisa
    11

    Kumi na moja
    1000

    Elfu

    12

    Kumi na mbili
    1997

    Elfu moja mia tisa tisini na saba
    17

    Kumi na saba
    Half

    Nusu

    20

    Ishirini
    Two and a half

    Mbili na nusu

    24

    Ishirini na nne
    Quarter

    Robo

    30

    Thalathini
    Forty seven and three quarters
    Arubaini na saba na robo tatu
    Time

    It is interesting to note that in the Swahili culture the day starts at sunrise (unlike in the Arab world where the day starts at sunset, and in the Western world where the day starts at midnight). Sunrise in East Africa, being exactly at the Equator, happens every day at approximately 6:00 a.m. And for that reason, 6:00 a.m. is "0:00 morning" Swahili time. By "Swahili time" I mean the time as spoken in Swahili.
    So the hands of a watch or clock meant to read Swahili time would always point to a number opposite to the number for the actual time as spoken in English. That is, the Swahili time anywhere in the world (not just East Africa) is delayed by 6 hours.
    Therefore 7:00 a.m. is "1:00 morning" (saa moja asubuhi) Swahili time; midnight is "6:00 night" (saa sita usiku) Swahili time. 5:00 a.m. is "11:00 early morning" (saa kumi na moja alfajiri) Swahili time.
    Note also that the Swahili time doesn't use "noon" as the reference as in a.m. (before noon) and p.m. (after noon). The time is spoken using "alfajiri" which is the early morning time during which the morning light has started to shine but the sun has not risen yet; "asubuhi" which is the morning time between sunrise and a little before noon; "mchana" which is from around noon to around 3:00 p.m.; "alasiri" which is from around 3:00 p.m. to sunset; "jioni" which is the entire time period from around 3:00 p.m. up to a little before 7:00 p.m.; and "usiku" which is the entire time period from around 7:00 p.m. to early morning.




    English Swahili
    Time
    Saa
    Hour
    Saa

    Watch/Clock
    Saa

    Morning Asubuhi
    Evening
    Jioni/Usiku

    Afternoon
    Mchana

    Late afternoon
    Alasiri/Jioni

    Dusk
    Magharibi

    Night
    Usiku

    Late night
    Usiku wa manane

    Early morning
    Alfajiri

    What time is it?
    Saa ngapi?

    8 o'clock in the morning
    Saa mbili kamili asubuhi

    8 o'clock sharp
    Saa mbili barabara

    Noon
    Saa sita mchana

    4:25 p.m.
    Saa kumi na dakika ishirini na tano alasiri

    6:00 p.m.
    Saa kumi na mbili kamili jioni

    8:15 p.m.
    Saa mbili na robo usiku

    7:45 p.m.
    Saa mbili kasorobo usiku

    9:30 a.m.
    Saa tatu unusu asubuhi (also: Saa tatu na nusu asubuhi)

    Now
    Sasa

    Today
    Leo

    Yesterday
    Jana

    Tomorrow
    Kesho

    Day before yesterday
    Juzi

    Day after tomorrow
    Kesho-kutwa

    Day
    Siku

    Week
    Wiki

    Month
    Mwezi

    Year
    Mwaka

    Century Karne




    Animals






    English
    Picture
    Swahili
    Baboon
    Nyani
    Bird(s)
    Ndege
    Buffalo
    Nyati
    Cat
    Paka
    Cheetah
    Duma
    Chimpanzee
    Sokwe
    Cow/Ox
    Ng'ombe
    Deer
    Paa
    Dog
    Mbwa
    Donkey
    Punda
    Elephant
    Tembo/Ndovu
    Giraffe
    Twiga
    Goat
    Mbuzi
    Hippopotamus
    Kiboko
    Hyena
    Fisi
    Impala
    Swala
    Leopard
    Chui
    Lion
    Simba
    Monkey
    Kima
    Ostrich
    Mbuni
    Peacock
    Tausi
    Pig
    Nguruwe
    Python
    Chatu
    Rhinoceros
    Kifaru
    Sheep
    Kondoo
    Snake
    Nyoka
    Warthog
    Ngiri
    Wild Boar

    Nguruwe-mwitu
    Wild Dog
    Mbwa-mwitu
    Zebra
    Punda-milia
     
  2. Asomfwaa

    Asomfwaa Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Who may we credit with authoring this piece?
     
  3. Keita Kenyatta

    Keita Kenyatta going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I took it from my deceased wife's website that she was building before she passed...however, if you are interested in learning an Afrakan language, I can give you a great link with audio pronunciation and everything...your call....oh, swahili also comes in dialects.
     
  4. Asomfwaa

    Asomfwaa Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That would be excellent.

    I wanted to know whom to credit, so if I were to replicate it, perhaps in email or on the net, I could properly cite the owner.

    Nat Turner believed his first attempt at escape failed because he planned to escape alone. I noticed wisdom is best shared. :)

    Edit: How do you recommend learning the Bamum script with Swahili? The two separate?
     
  5. skuderjaymes

    skuderjaymes Contextualizer Synthesizer MEMBER

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  6. Asomfwaa

    Asomfwaa Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I thank you, skuderjaymes.

    I actually posted this link to the internet, and a Yoruba woman studying in the UK began conversation with me, asking the very same question that I did: Why are Americans looking to Swahili when we are mostly West-African. She also raised other points, but luckily, by the ancestors, I was able to eloquently answer her inquiry, having asked it myself earlier and receiving such brilliant answers as this forum has given.

    Everything happens for a reason.

    I thank the both of you, and the lot of you.

    Hotep!
     
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