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Confused on "How are you?" And "hujambo"

On here I'm being told that "hujambo" means both "hello" and "how are you" but from other sources I'm seeing that it strictly means "hello" and that you say how are you in another way. Is Duolingo or the other sources inaccurate, or am I just not understanding something? I've only done the first two lessons so I wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter, but just want clarification

September 16, 2018



'hujambo' in its literal meaning is asking about the other person's well-being, but it's meant as a greeting in that you're not asking them to actually tell you their current state. So in many ways it is like 'how are you' since the "pre-assigned" response is 'I'm fine'.

'Hujambo?' is an amalgamation of 'huna jambo?' which means 'have you no news?', while 'sijambo' ('sina jambo') is 'I have no news', i.e. all is well.

This greeting is usually issued by someone who is older/is of higher rank than the respondent


“Hujambo” literally means “you (one person) are well”. “Hamjambo” is the plural equivalent. But it is said as a question and understood to mean “hello”. You could say “Jambo” instead to mean hello in the more literal sense. And to reply to “Hujambo”, you can say “sijambo” (I am fine/well).


You need to do some more lessons. There is a lot to say about greeting rituals in Swahili. Hujambo is one of them, you als need f.i. Shikamoo, and habari leo or habari gani and a lot more. Later you will learn the grammatical context, which really makes learning Swahili fun.

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