Heri ya mwaka 2018!

Heri ya mwaka mpya wote, happy new year everyone!!

My 4th year running and am still going strong-despite the reduced number of posts and the going offline for almost half a year-poleni sana kwa hilo.

I’ll be back posting again at some point but in the meantime there’s plenty to be learnt with what’s already available so dig in.

Have a great year and many more ahead and lets continue ‘kulonga nami Kiswahili.’


Breaking Fast Swahili Style

Many cultures have different foods they prefer for their meals, eg. I got the shock of my life when I first started watching Asian dramas, movies etc and would see people having rice for breakfast… like really?!! It was such a foreign concept to me but of course now am very used to it.

Same thing for us in Tanzania and most of East Africa I think, when it comes to breakfast a huge percentage of people would have tea and bread (chai na mkate)-that’s like the basics. Others would have chapati, maandazi, vitumbua etc but they would always be accompanied with tea. Tea is such an important part of breakfast that usually the phrase ‘drinking tea’ is taken to mean having breakfast. For example if someone wants to ask you if you’ve had your breakfast they would usually say, umekunywa chai? (have you had tea?) Even if you had porridge or soup or whatever else for breakfast you’ll still answer, ndio nimekunywa chai (yes I’ve had tea).

A cultural note especially for foreigners, offering a guest tea without milk (chai ya rangi) is taken by most people as an insult, it’s like you are giving them low quality tea! In other cultures of course, especially in England where they just love their tea, people don’t feel offended at all and most hosts would ask how you take your tea, with or without milk but even if they give you without milk no one takes it personally. The whole idea behind why we put such importance on the type of tea is that milk to some may be hard to afford hence if someone offers you tea with milk (chai ya maziwa) that means you are important to them/they respect you.

So yeahs keep this in mind next time you offer someone tea, just have milk ready and then ask them how they like their tea and I can assure you most people would say with milk-it’s a status thing ha ha! We also make our tea very differently from our English counterparts who use tea bags. We prefer to actually cook it with plenty of viungo (spices) added to it-comes out oh so refreshing! But that’s another post for another day.

Breakfast today: vitumbua, karanga na chai-with milk of course!!)

Another batch bites the dust!

So I’ve been teaching a bunch of gentlemen from Estim Construction (my clients for a third consecutive year now), and we just finished the course the other day-see how happy they all are (to finally be rid of me I bet ha ha!)

It was a fun 3 months guys, hope you enjoyed it at least half as much as I did! See you around-asanteni na kwaherini!

Sorry Post: Website issues


So yeahs my host (is that what you call them?) one.com has been having issues this past week and as a result my little blog hasn’t been accessible for over a week now-bummer! They assure me it’s gonna be fixed soonest but after a week my faith in them is really starting a slow steady nosedive-am not the most patient person in the world but since I just renewed my subscription with them a couple of months ago apparently I’ve no choice but to wait!

Poleni sana and hopefully we’ll be back soon (all possible body parts crossed!)

Happy 4th anniversary to funlughaswahili-long live!!!

So the website’s been down this past couple of days and I was getting really antsy trying to get my host to sort me out. Well they did and just in time for our 4th anniversary too-yay!

Can’t believe it’s been 4 years already like where did the time go?!! I remember sitting on my bed in my sister’s house in Glasgow and having to tell her to shush it cuz I was about to record another audio lesson-using her laptop! She would laugh-as all good sisters are wont to do, and I would always tell her this is what am gonna for work from now on! Sure enough 4 years down the line and I am so chuffed that this little Swahili teaching blog has led to the creation of the biggest language service provider database in the region, Fun-Lugha, which has also become my full time job-well done me ha ha!

So am hoping to keep continuing doing this for the next many years and get more and more people learning my beautiful language that is Swahili.

Asanteni sana & please keep coming back to ‘longa nami Kiswahili’


Happy New Year 2017!

This is very very late but technically it’s still January so happy new year all!-Heri ya mwaka mpya!

I have been too busy for words since December (my Christmas vacation-to Zanzibar no less- is still on hold!) But yes I do hope everyone’s had a fabulous start to the year like I have had and I wish you all only the very best for 2017.

I should resume posting stuff soon but in the meantime you can make sure you master all that’s on here…lather, rinse, repeat!


Lesson Update: Lesson #75


Just an update on lesson #75 about understanding directions in Swahili. A certain Vola commented and asked for an accompanying podcast-I haven’t done one of those in a while! So yeahs it took a bit of time but I eventually got to it. You can listen to it here.

Similarly, if you need an audio accompaniment for any other lesson simply ask and thou shalt receive. Amen to that!

Leo tujifunze lugha teule ya Kiswahili!

I came across the below list on social media titled as seen above. Basically it was challenging Swahili speakers like myself to see just how much proper Swahili we knew and used in our everyday vocabulary. I confess I only know a couple of words out of the whole list, mostly because most of the time it’s easier to just use the English equivalent especially for new-ish technology. There’s 39 names in the full list so we’ll do ten each time, give you a chance to memorize. Enjoy!

1) Password – nywila 

2) Juice – sharubati

3) Chips – vibanzi

4) PhD – uzamifu

5) Masters – uzamili

6) Degree – shahada

7) Diploma – stashahada

8) Certificate – astashahada

9) Keyboard – kicharazio

10) Scanner – mdaki

Hand on heart, how many did you already know? Me, 3 (hides face in shame!!!)


Haggling culture in Tanzania

First things first, I am a terrible ‘haggler’ (is that even a word?!!) I honestly don’t know how I’ve managed to keep my business afloat being so terrible at this practice, but yeahs I guess am just so darn good at what I do that it doesn’t affect me 😉

Now unlike in many western countries whereby everything is labelled hence you pay what you see on the product-no more no less, here in Afrika, and particularly in my good country of Tanzania, there’s nothing like a fixed price! And if the fixed price has to apply then the customers usually introduce the very interesting ‘payment by installments’ concept-traders just cant seem to win hey?!

The only places whereby fixed prices are generally accepted by consumers are the likes of grocery stores, supermarkets, gas stations and eating/drinking establishments. Although depending on your skills and persuasion prowess you can even get a discount on food. eg. the other day I went to this little restaurant in town and they didn’t have my favourite mboga (side dish); maharage (beans). I ordered wali na nyama (rice and meat) which was supposed to be accompanied by maharage na mbogamboga (veggies). So I stood up to walk away and the nice lady was like, unaongea tu tunaelewana (we can just talk about it and come to an understanding). So yeahs I ended up paying 3000, instead of 3500-didn’t enjoy my meal as much but the discount was well worth it!

Apart from the few places, believe you me, you can and should haggle everywhere else! Traders tend to go really hard on especially foreigners, as is the norm in most countries not just in Afrika, but live here long enough and you pretty much get the gist of it and you find yourself paying the ‘local price’-or close to it! Another thing is, if you go to the market well dressed, you are sure to get overcharged-even if you are a local! Personally, I learnt from a young age that when you go shopping in certain places you dress shabby-well not too shabby but go for a very simple look. Also if you can speak Swahili, that’s a plus for you especially for fellow Africans not necessarily from Tanzania because then you will be treated like a local. but you go there with your Kizungu (slang for English) and you’ll see how that will play out!

So next time you go to Kariakoo market to get your supplies or for ladies if you go shopping to upgrade your wardrobe don’t just pay what you are told, usually they’d add a good few thousands to the ‘real’ price eg. if a pair of shoes costs say 50,000-I would usually pay about 45,000 but the ‘real’ price could even be as low as 35,000-it all just depends on your sweet tongue, patience and determination-which I clearly don’t possess but good luck to you and happy haggling!



The famous Kariakoo market in Dar whereby you can get anything you are looking for, you just need enough strength to handle the crazy crowds and scorching heat 🙂

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

It’s my birthday tomorrow-yay! So in the spirit of celebrating am offering to give away free soft copies of Swahili materials including the highly recommended Simplified Swahili by the famous Mr. Wilson!

There’s a catch though (of course there is!). Just wish me a happy birthday via the comment section (then I can pretend I am ‘oh so popular’ that total strangers are sending me birthday wishes he he!) and tell me briefly if and how this little blog has helped you in your Swahili learning journey and also what your favourite category (eg. random stuff, Swahili tunes etc) or lesson is. Also if you have any suggestions for improvements, future lessons etc you can include those as well. Do that and (in Oprah Winfrey’s voice) “you are ALL getting free Swahili learning materials!”

Let the celebrations begin!!!

Happy bday Elise