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FAQs and FYIs

Habari zenu?

I just wanted to clarify something that comes up on occasion in the discussions.

Number 1: You will often see that when translating "yeye" to English, "he" is the default translation. This is in no way due to intentional bias, it simply depends on what is typed first.

Yeye ni mhalifu hatari

  • He is a dangerous criminal (1)
  • She is a dangerous criminal (2)

Duolingo input: [He/She] is a dangerous criminal

Duolingo interprets this as (1) being the default (and most correct) answer. If you input (2), it will still mark it correct, and show you (1) as an alternative answer. If [She/He] is the Duolingo input instead, it would interpret "She" as the most correct answer.

I will make a conscious effort to mix it up with future sentences, but majority of the sentences are already in this format, and rest assured, it's nothing nefarious :)

Number 2: For glitches with Duolingo (app or browser), please visit this link. Sadly, I know nothing about programming

My request to you is: when it comes to audio issues, if you're hearing the wrong audio, please open a discussion to let us know rather than reporting it; it's the quickest way for us to fix it!

Number 3: please please go over 1)Tips and Notes of each lesson, and 2) the Swahili Masterpost. Most of the noun class concepts are addressed there, among other things. This post is where you can suggest concepts not covered in the Notes that you'd like more clarification on. I am aware these notes are not available on the app (you can still access them on a mobile or desktop browser), but as I mentioned in Number 2, this is outside my wheelhouse, and you are more likely to get results posting it in the general Duolingo forum, and getting other Duo users involved.

Number 4: each sentence in each lesson along with all their possible translations must be entered manually. Typically both British and American English words and spellings are taken into consideration, but for efficiency's sake, slang is not included for possible translations, so kindly stick to conventional English grammar. Also, sometimes it's just an error that a correct translation was not included. Please just open a discussion and let us know, I will see it and add it (or provide you with an explanation if it doesn't apply)

Number 5 if there's anything that comes up, such as disagreement with the translation given, or you feel that your translation is correct, feel free to open a discussion (that's what they're for! And they're fairly regularly monitored), but please be sure to point out what the problem is! 'This is stupid' or comments of that nature are not terribly helpful. We want to improve on the course and so constructive criticism is always welcome

Number 6 if you're looking for one, one English-Swahili translation website that I think is pretty accurate like 95% of the time is Glosbe

if you have questions/suggestions/concerns/comments about lessons (in a more general sense: structure, grammar, stuff like that), please drop them down here. As always, please be civil :)

Happy learning!

October 4, 2019



Thanks so much for your efforts to bring Swahili to life for those of us for whom it is so difficult.

This may be beyond your purview, however, like you, I am also studying German, and find the "stories" to be an accessible way to practice, and feel that I am engaging with the material in a more continuous way when I read them and answer the questions. Is there any chance that will ever be implemented in Swahili? The only other language I have been working on is Italian, and I don't find the stories there either.

Thanks again!


Thanks for the comment.


thanks for your help improving swahili


You're a Duolingo contributor/ language content person? The biggest frustration I'm finding with the Swahili course is the absence (at the levels I've got to) of the "grammar notes" for each block of learning. That's "frustrating" to the extent that I'd started keeping a diary/ notebook of Swahili grammar, and I've just discovered that davidvdb is doing something very similar at


Clearly, there is a need. And a desire.


We're both contributors. His post is a collection of my previous posts so that they're easier for the learners to find


Good to know that opening discussion is faster than reporting for incorrect audio. Thanks for this great course!


Disregard any complainers. I love all the authentic kiswahili I can get. Tafadhali!!!!


I enjoy all the listening :o) Tafadhali.


Thanks for the update; it's nice to see that we're being intentional about inclusion here!


I reported one example about a week ago for Swahili as the correct solution seemed wrong. For future ones, I will use the discussion forum as well.


SHOUTING MAN! I see that people have complained about SHOUTING MAN long ago, but it is still a problem. I cannot study Kiswahili after my wife has gone to bed because SHOUTING MAN is soooo much louder than everything else, including the other speakers. Please get somebody on this!


wear headphones


And how exactly would that correct the horrible imbalance in volume between SHOUTING MAN and the other speakers?


it wouldn't, but you wouldn't disturb your sleeping wife. :o)


To what, replace the audio he did? We have no people. I'm it


No need to replace the audio. But at some point the original audio was copied into the questions. That was not done correctly the first time, but could be redone and corrected just by adjusting the gain during xfer.


thanks so much, your so smart!!!!


In many of the lessons, when the student translates " -eni . . . " as "You all . . ." it is marked wrong. While I realize that English has no commonly-used plural "you," this phrase is common enough that it should not be marked wrong, especially since the student it trying to translate more precisely than more vernacularly.


Dear MaryAnne.

Thank you so much for all your hard work. I for one really appreciate it. But we haven’t seen you around recently. Please come back!

S x

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