At 8:00 this morning, we were sitting at our table eating pancakes and drinking coffee. I proceeded to pull out some index cards and began to quiz Rachelle. "Kunywa, it means "to drink", I said as Rachelle took a sip of her coffee. "Kunywa", Micah piped up from where he was playing in the living room. "Kunywa", Rachelle repeated as she put down her coffee, picked up the syrup, and poured it into her mug. "Ah, that's not creamer Rachelle..."
Over the last few days, we've begun learning some basic Swahili vocabulary and greetings. Here are some things we've learned.
Habari is a common greeting, to which Nzuri is a common response. Asante is a way of saying Thank you.
Swahili is a widely used trade language spoken by over 140 million people throughout East Africa. Interestingly, only around 5 million of these speak Swahili as their native tongue.
Swahili uses the same alphabet we use in English, minus the q and x, but unlike English letters, a Swahili letter always represents the same sound.
Swahili uses prefixes to help determine the actor, the object, and the tense of a verb, so it is possible to make a whole sentence out of one word. For example: tuliwaambia means "we told them" (tu = we , li = past tense , wa = them , ambia = tell)
Swahili has 8 classes of nouns. These classes are differentiated by their prefixes. Verbs and modifiers must take the same prefix as the noun that is used.
Here is a video containing the creation story told in Swahili: