Swahili is a Bantu language which is widely spoken in Eastern Africa, primarily in Tanzania and Kenya. Due the impressive linguistic diversity of the African continent, Swahili is actually not the native language of the many people who communicate in Swahili. Instead, Swahili acts as common language for people with different native tongues, or a lingua franca. Over many centuries, the geographical location of Swahili language speakers along the African coast created opportunities for the adoption of many foreign words and today these influences persist. Unlike many other African languages, there are a fair number of resources for native English speakers looking to learn Swahili.

Online Resources

FSI Swahili is a course offered by the Foreign Service Institute

University of Kansas Kiswahili has 300 pages of beginning Swahili all free! Amazing resource!

KIKO has online Swahili lessons including pronounciation, grammar, videos, and conversation.

Teach Yourself is a homemade teach yourself Swahili course. Link is to a PDF document.

Online News

BBC Swahili

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Where Can I Study It?

The University of Kansas offers a BA in African Studies with Swahili langauge courses

University of California - Los Angeles offers a BA in African and Middle Eastern Studies with Swahili language courses

Boston University offers a Minor in African Languages & Literatures with Swahili courses

Famous Speakers

Wangari Maathai
She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 and founded the Green Belt Movement.

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