word confusion

Duolingo has taught that grandmother is bibi, but a native speaker has told me that this is incorrect and bibi is actually the word for wife. He says that nyanya is the correct word for grandmother. Please could someone clarify what is going on, why would duolingo have this wrong?

August 1, 2019


both "nyanya" and "bibi" can mean grandmother, and "bibi" can mean wife as well:

the fact is there is a lot of regional variation in swahili, and your native speaker friend might have just come from a place where "nyanya" is used for grandmother. if you want to speak the language, you should learn all the meanings of both terms.

August 1, 2019

I tried a pun on a Kenya Airways flight earlier this year and ordered juisi ya bibi. The stewardess looked at me as if I was completely mad :)

August 2, 2019

Strangely, I have noticed Bibi is taught to be grandmother at the beginning of the course but occasionally in the review lessons I have found nyanya used in a multiple choice answer (Where English is given and you have to select the matching Swahili phrase and the phrase does involve the word grandmother). Outside of this single question it is never used (Though I am still in the far beginning of the course).

September 1, 2019
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