Looking for Swahili Resources
I have been scouring the internet for resources with which to teach myself Swahili, and have come up surprisingly short. I could not find a Memrise course that had audio, and most of the sites that I found were poorly organized and confusing. Has anybody seen any useful resources for learning this or any other African language? I would like to expand my horizons beyond the typical Romance languages, and feel that Swahili would be a useful addition to my repertoire.
Here's a strategy that would work well, if you had pronunciations, a good dictionary(do NOT use Google Translate, you need to be able to see where the word would be used in an English sentence and it's full definition in English) and a lot of time(2 solid hours got me 85 words of the way of just building the Anki deck...): http://lifehacker.com/5903288/i-learned-to-speak-four-languages-in-a-few-years-heres-how .
That is a good idea. Nice article, thanks for the link.
You're welcome, I hope you can find a decent dictionary and can learn the pronunciation! Good luck!
Unfortunately there are very few resources for Swahili, and even fewer free resources. If you're willing to put $20-$30 into learning Swahili, I'd recommend the Teach Yourself series! :)
You could try...
- Kiko course
- Omniglot, it has a few resources (Phrases, Dictionaries and Online resources).
- Digital Dialects has games for learning basic vocabulary. (free) or
- SwahiliPod101 This has free and premium features that include apps, podcasts and detailed course notes. I have tried two different languages and in both cases I was offered a $1 30 day premium option to look at the content.
pseudocreobotra recommended the FSI courses and I agree, but it might be worth trying getting the materials from worldmentoringacademy.com. It is one of the MOOC sites and has the same materials, Google+ hangouts, assignments and other data. Search "Swahili NYU-SCPS' to find the course. Additionally, the recommend site that contains the FSI information also has Peace Corp Books.
You could try the memrise courses without audio to learn the vocabulary. Then learn pronunciation by listening to short excerpts from radio and news section of the Omniglot page noted above (VOA/BBC ,etc). There is also an Assimil Swahili course. However, the book is in French. If you are just using it for listening, it wouldn't matter. I have an very old Assimil German course that I listen to when I walk the dog. (Here is a good video on buying used books. I think the Assimil books are easier to find in Europe. It was a pain for me.)
Depending on your location, I would recommend checking your local libraries. I got access to two language apps (free), Mango Languages and Transparent Languages, for free with the library card. I have checked and both have Swahili. If it's not available from your current library, you might be able to get it from the County or another nearby city. I have three library cards, two for languages and one for access to a digital research database. You can check Mango by zipcode here. Additionally, one of the libraries has a ton of Pimsleur (and other) audio courses.
If that doesn't work out, Transparent language also has a few free resources (also mentioned by pseudocreobotra):
- List Central has 142 Swahili word lists, the ones I checked had audio.
- Byki express is free, deluxe can be purchased (link on page).
If you none of the above sounds interesting and you are really motivated, you could try building your own lists.
Here is a video of Ankitool, an application that will converts words or sentences to anki format and grab the corresponding audio from google translate. The only catch is you need to get the words/phrases from somewhere.
- For this you could use phrases from the Peace Corp books noted above.
- There is also a Memrise Course Importer that will pull the vocabulary from the course of your choice. (follow the additional steps in the review titled "YES!" to get it to work).
EDIT: I was getting ready to listen to German audiobooks on Spotify and decided to search for Swahili. There is a ton of music that might be help, but there is also a Swahili audio course. (free account)