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Favourite Swahili words

Hi, this is just for fun. I picked up a number of Swahili words that make me smile. I would like to share them with you. More will follow as I learn more ...

  • barua pepe e-mail (pepe means wind)
  • tutaonana (this was hard to remember, but now I know the grammatical background)
  • kelele (noise)
  • umelalaje (just nice to say)
  • mbwa (real fun it the sound this animal makes)
  • lala salama (just sounds so friendly)
July 20, 2019



I enjoy the long 'words' that you can form in Swahili, because it is an agglutinative language: e.g. Hawakututembelea: 'they didn't visit us'. Or, Kitabu asichokitusomia, 'the book which he isn't reading for us'.


A few favorites off the top of my head: maparachichi (avocados); manung'uniko (complaints); ndumilakuwili (two-faced person) -- sometimes spelled other ways; shashimamishi - 1) useless person; rogue; 2) proudly, contemptuously, arrogantly -- I learned the second meaning but apparently the first meaning is more common today (TUKI) ??

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