Am adding a new category titled vikatuni (cartoon strips) whereby I will be featuring popular Swahili strips for your entertainment and of course Swahili learning purposes. I won’t be explaining right away so feel free to comment and tell us your interpretation then I will also add my 2 cents.

First one is by popular cartoonist, Masoud Kipanya (Kipanya meaning a tiny mouse hence most if not all of his strips usually feature a ‘mouse head’). Brilliant at his work and extremely witty. You can look him up online if interested.

kipanya 1


Bush anakuja… nasikia  anakujaga na magari yake, msosi wake, toilet pepa zake! Tunaomba Bongo aje na barabara zake na pantoni zake…

LESSON #98: STOVE 1 (Subject prefixes)

If you’re a regular lurker on here you know I post lessons in mixed fashion i.e. I mix all levels and don’t follow a certain pattern. My favourite topic is hands down this simple one that teaches you how to create a simple Swahili sentence using the above formula, STOVE (borrowed from Simplified Swahili). So what does it stand for?

S– Subject prefix T– Tense O– Object infix V– Verb E– Ending vowel

To easily understand this topic, my approach is that we break the formula into the different little sections, discuss them, and once we’ve covered all 5, we bring them together to form a simple, complete sentence. Note that in Swahili 1 sentence could be equal to 5 or more words in English.

eg, Ninakufundisha (1) = I am teaching you (4), pretty cool huh?!

With that in mind let’s start off with S (subject prefix). In English we have a 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person and it. These are represented by personal pronouns and subject prefixes. As in:

                                    Personal pronoun                       Subject Prefix

1st person                            Me (Us)                                     I (We)

2nd person                          You (You)                                You (You)

3rd person                           Him/Her (Them)                   He/She (They)

First of all note that, unlike in English, Swahili has many variations of it (about 7-8 of them). This is due to the use of noun classes- which I might cover at some point. Also note that when dealing with STOVE, it is all about humans (and other living beings i.e. animals, birds, insects and fish). So we are learning how to form sentences involving living beings ONLY as the main subjects or objects of a particular sentence. eg. We are not learning how to say the chair broke, because a chair is an inanimate object, rather we are learning how to say the girl broke a nail, or they carried many loads etc etc. Speaking of subjects (and objects) just what are they? A subject in a sentence is the one doing the act while the object is the one for which or to which an act is done. eg. If a sentence says the girl carried the dog, the girl here is doing the main act of carrying a dog hence she is the subject while the dog is the object because the main act in the sentence (carrying) is being done to them.

With that in mind, let’s see what personal pronouns and subject prefixes we have in Swahili (which perfectly match with the English ones). Note that whatever’s in brackets is the plural, also in Swahili he/she & him/her are each represented by only one personal pronoun/subject prefix unlike in English:

                                       Personal pronoun                       Subject Prefix

1st person                            Mimi (Sisi)                                     Ni (Tu)

2nd person                          Wewe (Nyinyi/Ninyi)                   U (M)

3rd person                           Yeye (Wao)                                    A (Wa)

So knowing all about subject prefixes let’s go back to the very first example sentence, ninakufundisha. Using STOVE, we now know what ni, stands for, it stands for I. So even if we didn’t know what ninakufundisha means, at least we’d know the sentence is saying I am doing, did, will do….. something. So the next thing to learn is T which stands for Tense, which will be the next topic I cover. Before signing off it is also important to note the fact that in Swahili sentences tend to sound repetitive, eg. The girl carried a dog= msichana (the girl) alibeba (she carried)  mbwa (a dog). Note the repetition, the girl she carried a dog, in English the subject prefix is deemed unnecessary and repetitive but in Swahili it is not, it is absolutely imperative that it be included. Cant explain any further, it’s just one of those things so just know that.

I have written this lesson the way I would usually present it, some students get it right off the bat whilst others take a bit longer. No sweat, that’s why the comment section is for, ask and it shall be answered for thee.

Till next time…

(Fun) Swahili Learning Recommendations

So a regular ‘lurker’ (ha ha!) on this site contacted me a few months ago suggesting things to include on here as well as recommending a very popular Tanzanian TV program as a Swahili learning tool. The program is called ‘Siri ya Mtungi’ and it’s been around for more than 3 years now and has been receiving very good reviews.

Now if anyone knows how effective learning a language via TV programs can be that would be me! I am a self confessed K-Drama addict (don’t judge me he he!) and thanks to my many years of watching Korean dramas I can confidently say you cannot talk behind my back, in Korean that is-I will certainly hear you and clearly understand! This is all thanks to my serious addiction to not only Korean dramas but music, variety shows-u name it, I’ve watched it!

Anyways my point is, there’s no better way to learn a language than by accident i.e. you just tend to pick up words, phrases, sentence structures and before you know it you don’t even need subtitles anymore. that’s how yours truly has been learning and perfecting my Korean all this time.

So, take it from me (and my good friend Nico) and give the program a try, if it happens not to be your kind of thing well there’s other programs out there and am hoping one is just right for you.

Below is episode 1 from season 1 and you can just continue on from there.

And do get back to me with your comments, feedback, questions etc, I’ll be more than happy to discuss/help.

Happy watching!

Tanzania’s New President

Well well am a bit late to the party but unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 8 months or so, you must have heard of our (charismatic?) new president. I do include a question mark because really the jury is still out as far as what kind of president he really is, is concerned.

But say what you may the man sure is different from all the presidents we’ve had so far. In fact some are going as far as comparing him to the great son of Africa that is Julius Nyerere, our first president. Not like he also didn’t have his issues but as far as good governance goes he was the best we had had, till President (Doc) John Pombe Magufuli came along. Yes we are not expecting miracles within days, neither are we expecting to be on the level of Singapore by the time he’s finished his 1 or 2 terms but we are hopeful and that’s a good place to be. No leader has ever given us this much hope for a better future like he has. No leader has ruled with an iron fist like he has dared to and of course his biggest critics would be those who before were ‘untouchable’ but for us common folk, he’s like the 2nd coming of the Messiah and we are really excited to see what else he has up his sleeves. From kutumbua majipu (getting rid of boils which are representative of the long term issues our country has had eg. corruption), to cancelling public holidays and allocating the money that would have been used elsewhere to banning unnecessary foreign travel by our leaders (as well as reserving first class seats to the top 3 leaders only-himself, VP and PM), he just keeps giving us more and more hope of a brighter future as days go by.

So here’s to our brand new president, to his good health, sound mind and consistent way of ruling this great country of ours-hapa kazi tu! (we only work here and nothing else). God bless Tanzania, God bless Africa!

Am interested in everyone’s thoughts though, what do you think of our new president, jury’s still out or….do share below


LESSON #97: Je, wajua? (#11)

On je, wajua? (do you know?) today we are talking about animals, birds, fish and insects in Swahili and the one thing they have in common. These creatures’ names just happen not to have plural versions eg. in English we have the animal name sheep which remains the same in the plural. In Swahili, most of the aforementioned creatures’ names do not change in the plural, they remain the same, just like ‘sheep.’ Pretty cool huh?!

However note that the operative word here is most, which means we do have a few exceptions. Feel free to add any other names that are the exception to this but the two I know of are animals:

Kiboko (hippo) whose plural is viboko

Kifaru (rhino) whose plural is vifaru.

The rest pretty much fall within the rule and therefore remain the same in either singular or plural form.

Here’s a few examples:

Mende (cockroach/es), mbu (mosquito/es), panya (mouse/mice), ng’ombe (cow/s), papa (shark/s), sato (tilapia fish), kuku (chicken/s), bata (duck/s)

Note: In Swahili we have something called noun classes-basically nouns are categorized into different groups depending on certain characteristics they may have. The above nouns all belong to a class called N-class whose main characteristic is that its nouns remain the same in singular and plural form. More on noun classes someday soon-when I have the energy for it-it’s a really heavy topic! Or if you ask me really nicely…. 😉

LESSON #96: Swahili with lyrics…#03 (Nerea)

So to start us off, a good follower of this blog contacted me with suggestions on future lessons and top of his list was lyrics to this song. As a bonus and as we always do we will add a translation as well. Thanks for the suggestions Nico and for always showing interest in my blog.

***Lyrics (with a little bit of tweaking) thanks to Fetterly Consulting


 Sauti Sol-Nerea

Nakuomba Nerea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We (I’m begging you Nerea, Do not terminate my pregnancy)
Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa Ni Yake (When God gives a child, He does so in His own time)
Mlete Nitamlea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We (Give me the child I’ll raise it, Do not terminate my pregnancy)
Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa Ni Yake (When God gives a child, He does so in His own time)

Huenda Akawa Obama, Atawale Amerika (Perhaps he* could become Obama, rule America)
Huenda Akawa Lupita, Oscar Nazo Akashinda (Perhaps she* could become Lupita, win Oscars)

Huenda Akawa Wanyama, Acheze Soka Uingereza (Perhaps he* could become Wanyama play soccer in the UK)
Huenda Akawa Kenyatta, Mwanzilishi Wa Taifa (Perhaps he* could become Kenyatta, the founder of the nation)
Nakuomba Nerea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We (I’m begging you Nerea, Do not terminate my pregnancy)
Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa Ni Yake (When God gives a child, He does so in His own time)
Mlete Nitamlea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We (Give me the child I’ll raise it, Do not terminate my pregnancy)
Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa Ni Yake (When God gives a child, He does so in His own time)

Huenda Akawa Maathai, Ayalinde Mazingira (Perhaps she* could become Maathai, protect the environment)
Huenda Akawa Makeba, Nyimbo Nzuri Akatunga (Perhaps she* could become Makeba and pen good songs)

Huenda Akawa Nyerere, Aongoze Tanzania (Perhaps he* could become Nyerere, lead Tanzania)
Huenda Akawa Mandela, Mkombozi Wa Taifa (Perhaps he* could become Mandela, liberate Africa)

Nakuomba Nerea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu (I’m begging you Nerea, Do not terminate my pregnancy)
Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa Ni Yake (When God gives a child, He does so in His own time)
Mlete Nitamlea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We (Give me the child I’ll raise it, Do not terminate my pregnancy)
Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa Ni Yake (When God gives a child, He does so in His own time)

Nakuomba Nerea, Nerea, Nerea, (I’m begging you Nerea, Nerea, Nerea)
Usitoe MimbaYangu (Do not terminate my pregnancy)
Nerea, Nerea, Nerea
Usitoe MimbaYangu (Do not terminate my pregnancy)
Huenda Akawa Kagame (Atawale) (Perhaps he* could become Kagame, (and) rule)
Jaramogi Odinga (Tuungane) (Jaramogi Odinga, (we) unite)
Huenda Akawa Tom Mboya (Perhaps he* could become Tom Mboya)
Huenda Akawa Rudisha (Perhaps he* could become Rudisha)
Huenda Akawa Malaika, Mungu Ametupatia (Perhaps he* could be an Angel, (that)God has given us)
Huenda Akawa Sauti Sol (Perhaps he* could become Sauti Sol)
Huenda Akawa Amos & Josh (Perhaps he* could become Amos &Josh)
Huenda Akawa……..(Perhaps he* could become)
Huenda Akawa Malaika, Mungu Ametupatia (Perhaps he* could be an Angel, (that)God has given us )

***In Swahili, he can be substituted for she unless it is clearly implied or stated that the gender referred to is female or male

***Lyrics (with a little bit of tweaking by me) thanks to Fetterly Consulting

Heri ya mwaka mpya 2016!

Well it’s a bit weird saying this 4 months later but better late than never hey?!! My last post was on new years and the next one coming more than a year later is a bit concerning to be honest!

I’ve been away doing other things-language related. I still teach here and there but mostly I’ve been running my language services company, Fun-Lugha, that I started almost 2 years ago. I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing freelancers providing services to all sorts of clients, big and small.

But since it all started here, I figured it’s time i came back! Can’t promise I’ll be posting as regularly as I used to but post I will. If anyone has questions, topics they’d like covered, etc just hit me up and I’ll be sure to work on them.

funlughaswahili is back and this time I think its back for good!

Heri ya mwaka mpya, 2015!

Asalaam Aleikum!

Kama mjuavyo nyote mwaka wa 2014 ndo umekwishamalizika na tumeuanza mwaka mpya kabisa. Kwanza natumai sote tumefika na tumeuona. Pili natumai malengo yetu yote ya 2014 tuliyatimiza na tumekwishajipangia malengo makubwa zaidi kwa mwaka huu mpya. Mimi binafsi nilidhamiria kuanzisha tovuti yangu inayohusiana na mambo ya lugha hapa Tanzania na ninashukuru nilifanikiwa kwa hilo. Kilichobaki sasa ni kuhakikisha tovuti hii inafanikiwa.

Sijui nyinyi wenzangu mna mipango gani kwa ajili ya 2015, ila ninawatakia nyote mafanikio mema na inshallah sote tuweze kufika tena tarehe kama hii hii mwakani.

Mungu awabariki nyote, Mungu aibariki!


Happy Birthday Tanganyika! (Heri ya siku ya kuzaliwa!))

tz call

It’s the 9/12 tomorrow which means we are going to be having a huge birthday bash this side of the Lake Victoria!

Tanganyika turns 53 tomorrow and we are so proud of our motherland! Yes I said Tanganyika and not Tanzania cuz thats a whole different thing.  FYI Tanganyika came first then Tanzania (Tanganyika + Zanzibar) followed.

So do join me in wishing my country and my fellow countrymen and women a lovely 53rd with many more to come of course.

Mungu ibariki Afrika, mungu ibariki Tanzania!