Swahili language

Bantu language spoken mainly in East Africa

The Swahili language is a language widely spoken in East Africa. In the language, its name is Kiswahili. It is a Bantu language.

Native toBurundi, DR Congo, Kenya, Mayotte (mostly Comorian), Mozambique (mostly Mwani), Oman, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda[1]
Native speakers
26 million (2007)[2]
120 million L2 speakers[3]
Latin, Arabic
Official status
Official language in
 African Union
 Comoros (as Comorian)
Regulated byBaraza la Kiswahili la Taifa (Tanzania)
Language codes
ISO 639-1sw
ISO 639-2swa
ISO 639-3swa – inclusive code
Individual codes:
swc – Congo Swahili
swh – Coastal Swahili
G.40.A–H (pidgins & creoles)
Areas where Swahili is spoken

Swahili is spoken in a wide area from southern Somalia to northern Mozambique and in all of Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi. Congo has five million first-language speakers and fifty million second-language speakers. Swahili has become a language with which people communicate within East Africa and the surrounding areas.

Swahili was first spoken by the Swahili people, who live on the coast of East Africa and on the islands near the coast, including Zanzibar, which is now a part of Tanzania.

Swahili is an official language in Tanzania and Kenya. It has been influenced by many other languages like Arabic.

Sample words change

  • city - mji
  • country - nchi
  • earth - dunia
  • no - hapana
  • okay - sawa
  • water - maji
  • yes - ndiyo
  • me - mimi

References change

  1. Ethnologue list of countries where Swahili is spoken
    Thomas J. Hinnebusch, 1992, "Swahili", International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Oxford, pp. 99–106
    David Dalby, 1999/2000, The Linguasphere Register of the World's Languages and Speech Communities, Linguasphere Press, Volume Two, pg. 733–735
    Benji Wald, 1994, "Sub-Saharan Africa", Atlas of the World's Languages, Routledge, pp. 289–346, maps 80, 81, 85
  2. Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  3. Swahili language at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  4. Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online

Other websites change