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Swahili Resources

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05 May 2020 at 12:37am | IP Logged 
During the period from February 2020 through May 2020, I conducted a complete revision to the twenty-eight (28) lists of resources which I had posted on the LLORG during the previous three-year period. As revising these types of documents directly on the LLORG in the “Edit Mode” is fraught with difficulties, I removed their contents from the LLORG, stored them on my computer, and completed the revisions. During the revision process an event occurred which prevented me from reposting the contents to their original files and, as a contingency measure, I have posted them here on the HTLAL in the anticipation that either the Administrator or the Moderators of the LLORG will copy/paste them to the LLORG. - Speakeasy


Swahili Language
Swahili, also known as Kiswahili (translation: language of the Swahili people), is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. It is a lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Comorian, spoken in the Comoros Islands is sometimes considered to be a dialect of Swahili, though other authorities consider it a distinct language. The exact number of Swahili speakers, be it native or second-language speakers, is unknown and a matter of debate. Various estimates have been put forward and they vary widely, from 100 million to over 150 million. Swahili serves as a national language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the DRC. Shikomor, the official language in Comoros and also spoken in Mayotte (Shimaore), is related to Swahili. Swahili is also one of the working languages of the African Union and officially recognised as a lingua franca of the East African Community. South Africa legalized the teaching of Swahili in South African schools as an optional subject to begin in 2020. – Source: Wikipedia
Selected Discussions

Mikonai’s Swahili Log - LLORG

SGP’S Beyond Beginner’s Swahili Log - LLORG
Why do so many people learn Swahili? – HTLAL – April, 2012
French vs Swahili usefulness in Africa? – HTLAL – July, 2007

Swahili Courses, Supplements, etc. (Legacy)

DLI Swahili Basic (1966) – NOT AVAILABLE
A DLI Swahili Basic course is not hosted on the Yojik or the Live Lingua websites. A portion of the PDFs for these courses were once available on the ERIC website, but this is no longer the case. There are a few offers on eBay for DLI Swahili courses which may, or may not, turn out to be the DLI Swahili Basic course; ordering a copy would be buying a pig in a poke.

DLI Swahili 12-Week Course (1963), 830 pages
DLI Swahili 12-Week Course (1963). Volume VI, Vocabulary List, 31 pages
Short, but intensive, course in spoken Swahili. The PDF on the ERIC website is pending restoration; typically, this means that it will never be released.

Fast-Track Swahili (circa 1985), approx. 340 pages, by Peter Leimbigler; Audio-Forum
Enhanced language guide with exercises and drills. Potential of CEFR A1. Includes 5.4 hours of AUDIO recordings. I have the German and Dutch courses in this series; they’re really quite good. Out-of-print, but copies can still be found on the internet.

FSI Swahili: an Active Introduction (1966), 167 pages, by J. Indakwa et al
Familiarization course / language guide. Includes 3-1/2 hours of AUDIO recordings. CEFR A0. Developed with the assistance of the U.S. Peace Corps: “The subject matter of this booklet is taken from the area of general, socially useful, conversation. The student is introduced to the rudiments of Swahili grammar as well as to a number of the highest frequency patterns and clichés which he will need immediately upon arrival in East Africa.”

FSI Swahil Basic (2nd ed., 1968), 588 pages, by J. Indakwa et al.
Audio-lingual method. Scripted dialogues, exercises, grammar. Approx. 10 hours of AUDIO recordings. Conceived for both the classroom and self-instruction.

Handbook of the Swahili Language as Spoken at Zanibar, A (1875, 1896, 1903, 1917, 1924, 1943, 1950, plus reprints), 458 pages, by Edward Steere et al.; several publishers.
Published in several revised editions the by Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge. In reprint since circa 2012 from several publishers.

Linguaphone Swahili (1920s), 60 pages
I have a digitized copy of a Linguaphone Swahili course dating from perhaps the 1920’s or perhaps somewhat later. The course manual, some 60 pages in length, places a heavy emphasis on the target language’s grammar but includes dialogues and exercises which would support the development of a level of CEFR A1+ in Swahili. The accompanying AUDIO recordings were provided on five, doubled-sided, 78 rpm shellac records of approximately 30 minutes total duration. I have come across offers on eBay for what-seem-to-be reprinted editions of this course.

Simplified Swahili (1983), 317 pages, by Peter M. Wilson; Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd
Very basic introduction to spoken Swahili (1,000 word vocabulary). Conventional approach. No mention of audio recordings. CEFR A1. Most Amazon customer reviews are very positive; however, the dissenting voices are ferociously critical.
Spoken Swahili (1979), 254 pages, by Anthony J. Vitale; Spoken Language Services
Possibly a reprint of a course which had been developed during WWII on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces. Likely employed the nascent audio-lingual method. Printed on half-sized pages; 6 AUDIO cassettes. CEFR A0.

U.S. Peace Corps Kiswahili (Swahili) courses (1970s)
U.S. Peace Corps: Tanzanian Swahili: Grammar Handbook (1979), 298 pages, by Annie K. Hawkinson
U.S. Peace Corps: Tanzanian Swahili: Teacher's Handbook (1979), 143 pages
Hosted on Yojik, Live Lingua, and ERIC websites. No audio recordings.


Swahili Courses, Supplements, etc.

Assimil Le swahili (circa 2011), 504 pages, by Jean-Louis Goussé et Odile Racine
Assimil Le swahili sans peine (circa 2004), 544 pages, by Odilev Racine-Issa
Available in FRENCH only. Two generations of the Assimil Swahili course. CEFR A2-B1. Amazon.FR reviews are generally quite positive, as are the few references to this course on the HTLAL.

Colloquial Somali (2nd ed., 2015), 303 pages, by Lutz Martin, Donovan Lee McGrath; Routledge
Colloquial Somali: AUDIO Recordings – Routledge website
Staple CEFR A0-A1 course. Most Amazon customer reviews are quite positive.
Complete Swahili (2012), 352 pages, by Joan Russell; Teach Yourself Books
Staple CEFR A1 course. Most Amazon customer reviews are quite positive.

Collection of graded exercise sets for supplemental practice (reading, aural, occasionally videos). Free access.

DLI Headstart2 Swahili
Familiarization language course. First half, civilian oriented. Second half, mission oriented. CEFR A0+

Glossika Swahili
Supplemental materials for advanced beginners: a set of 3,000 sentences using SRS techniques for increasing automaticity.
KiSwahili ; University of Kansas
Online course comprised of downloadable PDFs along with links to additional resources. Seems quite in-depth. No mention of audio recordings.

Learn Good Swahili: Step by Step: A Complete Language Textbook (2016), 828 pages, by Zahir K. Dhalla; Independently published
Apparently more a description of the language than a beginner’s course in how to speak it. Possibly CEFR A2-B1. No mention of audio recordings. Replaced by an online version which is updated monthly (refer to notes on Amazon). Amazon customer reviews are mixed.

Learn Swahili Quickly and Easily: The theory made simple (2017), 256 pages
Learn Swahili Quickly & Easily: Exercises (2017), 45 pages
Both of the above authored by Laurence Wood and Mr Jaba Tumaini Shadrack; Independently published. Seems to be conceived for self-instruction. Includes free, downloadable AUDIO recordings. CEFR A1. Amazon customer reviews very positive.

Lehrbuch des Swahili für Anfänger (2005, 2015), 208 pages, by Beat Wandeler; H. Buske Verlag
Lehrbuch des Swahili für Anfänger: Begleit-CD – AUDIO recordings      
Available in German only. Most Amazon.DE customers were quite satisfied, with the exception of one customer expressed disappointment that the CD contained only excerpts from the course manual and that the cadence of speech was, for her, too fast.

Living Language Spoken World Swahili (2007), 320 pages, Random House
The Living Language “Spoken World” series of courses took the same approach to teaching as did this publisher’s “Ultimate” series. The Spoken World series focused on the not-so-frequently studied languages and contained 6 CDs whereas the latter contained 8 CDs. Generally speaking, these courses have been very well-received on the HTLAL and by Amazon customers. Level upon completion would be CEFR A2+

National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) Swahili – University of Maryland
Collection of graded exercise sets for supplemental practice (reading, aural, occasionally videos). Similar to DLI GLOSS. Currently 175 exercise sets for Swahili. Access: US$ 5.00 monthly subscription.

Parlons swahili (1992), 192 pages, by A. Crozon and A. Polomack; Éditions L'Harmattan
Parlons swahili: AUDIO CD - indisponible
Available FRENCH only. CEFR A2. L’Harmattan has ceased selling the audio recordings. Course well-received Amazon.FR customers.
Pimsleur Swahili, Level 1; Simon & Schuster
All-audio, elementary, but very solid, introduction to the basic structure and vocabulary of an L2.

Swahili: A Foundation for Speaking, Reading, and Writing (2nd ed., 2000), 312 pages, by Thomas Hinnebusch et al.; University Press of America      
Appears to have been conceived for use in a classroom setting. No answer key. No mention of audio recordings . Generally well-received by Amazon customers.

Swahili Conversations; leosmith
19 Nov 2019, leosmith wrote:
Per this thread, I have begun developing what is to be a set of at least 100 six minute passages in Tanzanian Swahili. As of this post, 18 are finished and 22 are in work. I expect to have 100 done by the end of January or so; I need them for myself by that time frame, so I am motivated to get it done :D

Each conversation has audio and a transcript. They are one-on-one conversations between native speakers; some are 2 males, some 2 females and some mixed. They are completely free and can be found here at Language Tools. You have to register to see them, but registration is free and easy. Karibuni sana!
20 Feb 2020, leosmith wrote:
I just wanted to let you know there are finished now, per the last post in that thread.

Swahili for Foreigners (1998), 284 pages, by Alice Wanjiku Mangat; East African Educational Publications
From the editor: “The author's approach is structured and grammatical, though as a native speaker with much experience of teaching Swahili to foreign diplomats and experts in Eastern and parts of Central Africa.” Possibly conceived for use with an instructor. No mention of audio recordings. Only one Amazon review; brief, but positive.

Swahili for Starters: A Practical Introductory Course: (previously known as "Twende!") (1999), 352 pages, by Joan Maw; Oxford University Press
Likely for self-instruction. Possibly CEFR A2. No mention of audio recordings. Well-received by Amazon customers.

Swahili Made Easy. A Beginner's Complete Course (1987, 2012), 272 pages, by J. F. Safari; Mkuki Na Nyota Publishers
May be a reprint, without changes, of the 1987 edition. Likely for self-instruction: CEFR A0-A1. No mention of audio recordings. Well-received by Amazon customers.

Tuseme Kiswahili/Let's Speak Kiswahili: A Multidimensional Approach to the Teaching and Learning of Swahili as a Foreign Language (2003), 460 pages, by F.E.M.K. Senkoro; University of Wisconsin
Appears to have been conceived for classroom use for CEFR A2. No mention of audio recordings. NOTE: Pay careful attention to the Amazon customer reviews!

U.S. Peace Corps Kiswahili (Swahili) courses (1990s)
U.S. Peace Corps: Kiswahili Competency Based Manual (1995), 136 pages, by Mary Nzioka et al.
U.S. Peace Corps: Kiswahili Book for Peace Corps Tanzania (1994), 279 pages, by Esther M. Simba et al.
Audio recordings NOT available .

Swahili Phrasebooks, Language Guides, etc.
This list in not exhaustive, it is but a sample of the plethora of phrasebooks and language guides available for the Swahili language.

Berlitz Swahili Phrase Book (1995), 191 pages; Berlitz Publishing Company

DLI Language Survival Kit

Innovative Language Swahili
Very basic introductions to Swahili words and phrases.

Kauderwelsch Sprachführer: Kisuaheli - Wort für Wort (für Tansania, Kenia und Uganda) (2nd ed., 2018), 312 pages, by Christoph Friedrich; Reise Know-How Verlag
Kauderwelsch AusspracheTrainer: AUDIO recordings
Available in German only. Paired set of phrasebook and AUDIO recordings (extracts only). Sold separately.

Kiswahili for Beginners (2nd ed., 2000), 116 pages, by Y. M. Kihore; Dar es Salaam University Press
I assume that this work is more of a phrasebook than an in-depth course.

Language Transfer Swahili
Very basic introductions to Swahili words and phrases.

Learn Swahili with Pod101
Very basic introductions to Swahili words and phrases.

Mango Languages Swahili
Very basic introductions to Swahili words and phrases.

Rough Guide to Swahili Dictionary Phrasebook (2002), xxx pages, by Lexus; Rough Guides

Swahili-English/English-Swahili Dictionary & Phrasebook (2002), 194 pages, by Nicholas Awde; Hippocrene Books

Swahili Phrasebook & Dictionary (5th ed., 2014), 264 pages; Lonely Planet

U.S. Army Special Forces 200-Hour Familiarization Course: Swahili
Emphasis on basic communication needs. The “200 hours” refers to contact time in the classroom. Materials themselves evoke a language guide. In self-study, CEFR A0 upon completion.

Swahili Grammars, etc.
This list in not exhaustive, it is but a sample of the many grammars available for the Swahili language.

Modern Swahili Grammar (2001), 292 pages, by M. A. Mohammed; East African Educational Publishers

Swahili Grammar and Workbook (2014), 262 pages, by Fidèle Mpiranya; Routledge

Swahili Grammar for Introductory and Intermediate Levels (2014), 462 pages, by Oswald Almasi et al.; University Press of America
From the editors: “On completing this book, the reader will be able to read, write and converse in Swahili with confidence.” Well-received by Amazon customers.

Swahili Made Easy. A Beginner's Complete Course (2012), 272 pages, by J.F. Safari; Mkuki na Nyota Publishers

Swahili Learners' Reference Grammar (2nd ed., 2004), 326 pages, by Katrina Thompson et al.; National African Languages Resource Centre

Swahili Learners' Reference Grammar (2001), 391 pages, by K.D. Thompson, A.F Schleicher; U.S. Department of Education
Freely available via the U.S. Government’s ERIC website.

Swahili Dictionaries, etc.
This list in not exhaustive, it is but a sample of the many dictionaries available for the Swahili language.

Comprehensive Swahili-English Dictionary (2022), xxx pages, by Mohamed a Mohamed; East African Educational Publishers

English-Kiswahili Assorted Dictionary (2002), 432 pages, by John M. Omiti and K. W. Wamitila; Focus Books

Oxford Concise English - Swahili Dictionary (1966), 325 pages, by R. A. Snoxall et al.; Oxford University Press

Swahili-English/English-Swahili Practical Dictionary (2000), 596 pages, by Nicholas Awde; Hippocrene Books

Swahili Medical Dictionary and Phrasebook (2007), 326 pages, by Mjf Cooper and M. J. F. Cooper; National African Languages Resource Centre
Although labelled by the editors as both a dictionary and a phrasebook, owing to the unique subset of its vocabulary, it has been listed here, amongst the dictionaries of Swahili.   

Swahili Readers, Literature, etc.


Swahili Culture, Society, History, etc.

Swahili World, The (2017), 701 pages, by Adria LaViolette and Stephanie Wynne-Jones; Routledge

Swahili Media


Swahili Miscellany

Columbia University: Swahili Language on the Internet

lonweb : Swahili Language and Culture links

Portland State University: Resources in Swahili

St. Lawrence University: Swahili

Vassar College: Swahili

Please feel at liberty to post your own recommendations and/or comments and I’ll see what I can do about incorporating them into the lists above.

Visitors to this file are encouraged to review the subsequent comments, posted below, as they include members’ suggestions concerning materials and form a running commentary on resources for the study of this language.

Completely revised: April 2020

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