Swahili is a language widely spoken in Kenya and Tanzania. However, Swahili speakers can also be found across the Africa continent. To guide you on your journey below is a guide with basic Swahili words. The Swahili language borrows from Arabic which has also impacted its patterns and flow. For example, Swahili has an Arabic trait whereby words end in a vowel sound. Not to mention, “Swahili” is an Arabic word that means “people of the coast”.
Mahaba (mah-ha-bah)- love
Mahaba in Swahili, means love. It is derived from ” haba” the Arabic word which means love. The Swahili language added “ma” at the beginning of the word “haba” and the resulting word means “overflowing with love”. The word ” mapenzi” is derived from “mahaba” and is a name for girls.
Furaha (fuh-ra-haa)- happiness
Furaha means joy or the state of happiness. “Furahi” and “furahia” are it’s derivatives and are words used to tell someone to be happy.
Tembea (teh-mbe-a)- travel
Tembea is a Swahili word that means “walk-around”. A slogan ” Tembea Kenya” has been derived from the word and is used by the tourism board to motivate tourists and citizens to travel around and see the wonders in their beautiful country.
Jabali (jah-bah-lee)- rock-strong
Jabali means “rock” and is used by communities to describe a strong and dependable member of the family and community. The name “jabali” is mostly given to male children.
Dua (duu-ah)- prayer
Dua in Swahili means “prayer”. It was gotten from Arabic and is frequently found in the Quran. Dua is used in prayer and when pleading or petitioning to a person of authority. Alternatively, the word ” ombi” can be used.
Upepo (uu-pe-poh)- wind
Swahili communities living in the coastal region believe that the wind brings relief from heat. The word “kupunga upepo” Is used when you want to say that you are loving the cool breeze. “Upepo” however should not be confused with ” baridi”, the Swahili word for “cold”.
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