It’s been a while since I posted about language learning! Because I love languages and learning and Kenya, and because learning to speak Swahili is on my 30 before 30 list, here I am sitting down with a glass of white wine and my little green notebook and an awesome online Swahili curriculum my husband shared with me. It was created by a friend of his as part of a pre-departure orientation for a nonprofit organization in Tanzania, but it is very generously available to anyone interested. The curriculum includes both written and audio explanations of Swahili grammar, along with listening comprehension exercises and worksheets. I posted a while ago about some helpful youtube channels for learning Swahili, but this resource is more comprehensive. Check it out, my fellow language nerds!
I know at least a few of you who read this blog love languages and are always up for learning a little bit of every language out there. So I thought I’d share some free resources I’ve found for learning Swahili.
I started by walking over to my local public library to see what they had in the foreign languages section. But this was disappointing. Shelves and shelves of resources for learning European languages and not much more than a couple of dictionaries and small travelers’ phrase books for Swahili.
I probably could find something good on Amazon, but I’m cheap. Thankfully, there’s a youtube video out there for everything you might ever need to do ever, and speaking Swahili is no exception. Youtube has some surprisingly helpful resources for learning Swahili. All for the attractive price of free.99!
Here are the most helpful channels I’ve found so far:
To get started, a channel called “Learn Swahili with SwahiliPod101.com” has a series called “Swahili in Three Minutes” that goes over the very basics- greetings, introducing yourself, numbers, asking and answering very simple questions, etc. The same channel also has a series of videos called “Swahili Listening Practice” at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.
For grammar, the channel “Five College LangMedia” has a series of videos on Swahili grammar, covering verb conjugations and tenses, noun classes, everything. There are about 50 videos, mostly between 5 and 15 minutes long, and they are very clear and easy to follow. I’ll be slowly working through these for a while!
I learn languages best when I have both visual and auditory input, and the above videos have both. And, of course, when I have a chance to practice and produce the language myself. My hubby covers that last part. I try out everything I learn on him and he’s a great sport about it! So find a Swahili-speaking friend! Or just talk to yourself and write in a journal- that works too. You just have to take what you’ve learned and try it out.