Tag Archives: Swahili language


I find it very useful to learn and use basic phrases as much as possible when on mission trips. The locals seem to appreciate the effort and it is fun to learn new things. As my daughter noted, so many of them speak multiple languages compared to us.

We had some fun with the Swahili iPhone app when preparing for our Kenya mission trip. I created some .mp3 files in 2004 to help me memorize a few words and phrases and have shared those with others (“Learn Swahili with Neilie!”), but this app was much more thorough and entertaining – and, uh, higher quality (it is possible that I mispronounced a few words on the .mp3 files).

I am not making up the following examples:

Travel safety

  • Don’t shoot! (Practical, I suppose, but hopefully you don’t need that one.  And if you said it in English I doubt they’d think you were saying, “Yes, please shoot me!”  And my guess is that they won’t let you whip out your iPhone to double check the pronunciation.)
  • I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong (that doesn’t work for me in English, but maybe it will in Swahili)
  • Those drugs aren’t mine! (Oh, well, since they aren’t yours, carry on and have a nice day.)
  • There was an explosion

Food & Eating

  • I am a well known food critic in my country

At the bar

  • I’m not just saying this because I’m drunk


  • I am a marine biologist (That was the only career listed. I assume that was just an example, but perhaps being a marine biologist is the premier gateway to getting dates.)
  • I am very rich
  • I am famous
  • Will you marry me? (seems like you might want to both be fluent in the same language before asking that)
  • I’m not a stalker (really!)
  • I’m not just saying this because I’m drunk (Apparently that works in multiple categories.  It is probably a good one for the workplace, too.)