"How was your day dad?"
Verbs are broken into parts in the STOVE pattern: Subject, Tense, Object, Verb, Ending. So, each verb has a stem and combines with prefixes and suffixes to mean different things. This word is broken into u-me-shinda-je. The u- prefix means that the subject is 2nd person singular. The me- infix means that this word is in the present perfect tense (think "i have gone," "I have run," etc). Shinda is defined as "to win, to conquer, to overcome." And -je is an ending, but I'm not quite sure what it means. I've tried googling it and the best answer I've found is that it indicates a question. Hope that helps!
-je indicates a question. Appended to a verb, it is often translated with 'how'. Another common example of the use of this ending is in "unauzaje" - "how are you selling", meaning "For how much are you selling ... ?"
If you put 'je' at the front of a sentence, it is a common way of marking a yes/no question. Sort of like how you would use the word 'so' in English. "Je, wewe u mpishi?" - "So, you are a cook?"
Umeamkaje = How did you wake up? or How was your waking? (Amka means to wake up) Umeshindaje = How has your day been? or How have you been getting on? (Shinda means to conquer or win, but in the sense of this greeting is more just like How have things been going?) Umelalaje = How did you sleep? (Lala means to sleep)
And yes, the structure of Swahili is such that a lot of what we have as separate words in English are all squished together into a single word or very few words. So here, the subject (u=you), tense (me=recent past), verb, and question word (je) are all squished together into a single word that is simultaneously a full sentence.
Something like "Dad how's today" (leo = today) and "how's it going Dad" or more literally"Are you winning Dad?" Which is a phrase that would be used in English, although I think normally in the context of trying to get through a difficult task. From what others have said, either works, it's more maybe a question of the local culture as to which phraseology is more common... Don't know if that helps you!
Well it certainly saves a lot of paper. You only have to learn this pattern once so it is not really difficult. Just be aware that there are still other possible additions to make even longer words such as "Kinachotamanika" meaning "desirable". Where did I get the idea that Africans spoke in monosyllabic words? Must have been from those Tarzan movies.