Kenya with a total of 69 languages spoken is a multilingual country. Kenya's various ethnic groups typically speak their mother languages  within their own communities.

All positive attributes of the unique Swahili culture and language are credited to the influence of Arabs and Persians which came to Kenya in the 18th Century. Swahili is attributed to Semitic heritage or interaction.

English and Swahili are the languages taught throughout the country.

The Swahili language: History & Useful Phrases

The Swahili language or Kiswahili is spoken by around 60 million people in East Africa.

Some Swahili vocabulary is derived from Arabic through more than twelve centuries of contact with Arabic-speaking inhabitants of the coast of southeastern Africa. It has also incorporated Persian, German, Portuguese, English, and French words into its vocabulary through contact during the past five centuries.

Swahili serves as a national, or official language, of five nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Comoros and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Source:

The word “Swahili” was used by early Arab visitors to the coast and it means “the coast”. Ultimately it came to be applied to the people and the language (Source:

How to say…. in Swahili

There are many websites that may help someone to learn the language.  To get you started we have found the most common and useful phrases:

Hello! =  Jambo

Welcome = Karibu

What’s your name = Jina lako ni nani?

My name is… = Jina langu ni…

Do you speak English? = Unazungumza kiingereza?

How much is this? = Hii ni bei gani?

Thank you = Asante

Are you fine? = Salama?

How are you? = Hujambo?

I am fine = Sijambo

Goodbye = Kwa heri!