1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swahili
  4. >
  5. "How much is beer?"

"How much is beer?"

Translation:Bia shilingi ngapi?

May 18, 2017



How can you tell when they expect "shilingi ngapi" and when it would be "bei ngapi?"


I don't think "bei ngapi" is ever accurate. I don't know for sure, but to me it sounds like "how many prices" not "what is the price".


Beer in Swahili is Pombe. ''Bia'' is not the most accurate term for it. In addition, the sentence above should read as ''Pombe ni shillingi/pesa ngapi? ''ni'' is missing.


'Pombe' would be the right term in Kenya. Your example is spot on, the translation above does sound off just a bit.


I agree completely. "Bia" is a late arrival/adaptation from English. It's funny how Tanzanians, who pride themselves on their Swahili, use terms like "bia" and "familia" when there are perfectly good older words of African origin already in the language, which are still commonly used in other regions. I know it's normal for languages to change but it's funny considering the other efforts Tanzanians make to preserve the language.


In Tanzania, pombe is generally a more generic term for alcohol, not specifically beer and it may even specifically refer to spirits.

Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.