|Native to||Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique (mostly Mwani), Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Comoros, Mayotte, and the margins of Zambia, Malawi, Madagascar, and South Sudan|
|2 million to 15 million. (2012)
L2 speakers: 50 to 100 million
|Latin script (Roman Swahili alphabet),
Arabic script (Arabic Swahili alphabet)
Official language in
|Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, African Union, East African Community|
|Regulated by||Baraza la Kiswahili la Taifa (Tanzania), Chama cha Kiswahili cha Taifa (Kenya)|
swc – Congo Swahili
swh – Coastal Swahili
ymk – Makwe
wmw – Mwani
areas where Swahili or Comorian is the indigenous language
official or national language
as a trade language
Swahili, also known as Kiswahili, 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. Although sometimes considered to be a dialect of Swahili, Comorian, spoken in the Comoros Islands, is a distinct language.
Estimates of the total number of Swahili speakers vary widely, from 50 million to over 100 million. Swahili serves as a national language of three nations: Tanzania, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 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.
Learn Swahili - Swahili in Three Minutes - How to Introduce Yourself in Swahili
The Swahili Language
1. Swahili - Learn the Greetings & Intros
Easy Swahili - Basic Phrases for Greetings
Learn Swahili - Lesson 3 - Useful Phrases (Introduce Yourself & Learn Key Questions)
- 1 History
- 2 Name
- 3 Phonology
- 4 Orthography
- 5 Grammar
- 6 Dialects and closely related languages
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The earliest known documents written in Swahili are letters written in Kilwa in 1711 in the Arabic script that were sent to the Portuguese of Mozambique and their local allies. The original letters are now preserved in the Historical Archives of Goa, India.
One key step in spreading Swahili was to create a standard written language. In June 1928, an inter-territorial conference took place at Mombasa, at which the Zanzibar dialect, Kiunguja, was chosen to be the basis for standardising Swahili. Today's standard Swahili, the version taught as a second language, is for practical purposes Zanzibar Swahili even though there are minor discrepancies between the written standard and the Zanzibar vernacular.
Swahili has become a second language spoken by tens of millions in three African Great Lakes countries (Tanzania, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)) where it is an official or national language. In 2016 it was made a compulsory subject in all Kenyan schools.
Swahili, or other closely related languages, is spoken by relatively small numbers of people in Burundi, the Comoros, Rwanda, northern Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, and the language was still understood in the southern ports of the Red Sea and along the coasts of southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf in the 20th century.
Some 80 percent of approximately 49 million Tanzanians speak Swahili in addition to their first languages.
Kenya's population is comparable as well, with a greater part of the nation being able to speak Swahili. Most educated Kenyans are able to communicate fluently in Swahili since it is a compulsory subject in school from grade one to high school and a distinct academic discipline in many of the public and private universities.
The five eastern provinces of the DRC are Swahili-speaking. Nearly half the 66 million Congolese reportedly speak it.
Swahili speakers may number 120 to 150 million.
Methali (e.g. Haraka haraka haina baraka – Hurry hurry has no blessing), i.e. "wordplay, risqué or suggestive puns and lyric rhyme, are deeply inscribed in Swahili culture, in form of Swahili parables, proverbs, and allegory".
Kiswahili is the Swahili word for the language and is also sometimes used in English. The name Swahili comes from the plural sawāḥil (سواحل) of the Arabic word sāḥil (ساحل), meaning "boundary" or "coast", used as an adjective meaning "coastal dwellers". (The same word is the origin of the term Sahel.) With the prefix ki-, it means "coastal language", ki- being a prefix attached to nouns of the noun class such as languages.
Standard Swahili has five vowel phonemes: /ɑ/, /ɛ/, /i/, /ɔ/, and /u/. The actual phonetic realization of /u/ is [ʊ]. Vowels are never reduced, regardless of stress, but they are pronounced in full as follows:
- /ɑ/ is pronounced like the "a" in father.
- /ɛ/ is pronounced like the "e" in bed.
- /i/ is pronounced like the "i" in ski'.
- /ɔ/ is pronounced like the "au" in author.
- /u/ is pronounced like the "u" in rule.
Swahili is currently written in a slightly defective alphabet using the Latin script; the defectiveness comes in that it does not distinguish aspirated consonants, but in some dialects, pronunciation does not distinguish them anyway. (These were, however, distinguished as kh etc. in the old German colonial Latin alphabet.) There are two digraphs for native sounds, ch and sh; c is not used apart from unassimilated English loans and, occasionally, as a substitute for k in advertisements. There are also several digraphs for Arabic sounds not distinguished in pronunciation outside of traditional Swahili areas.
The language used to be written in the Arabic script. Unlike adaptations of the Arabic script for other languages, relatively little accommodation was made for Swahili. There were also differences in orthographic conventions between cities and authors and over the centuries, some quite precise but others defective enough to cause difficulties with intelligibility.
Vowel diacritics were generally written, effectively making the Swahili-Arabic script an abugida. /e/ and /i/, /o/ and /u/ were often conflated, but in some spellings, /e/ was distinguished from /i/ by rotating the kasra 90° and /o/ was distinguished from /u/ by writing the damma backwards.
Several Swahili consonants do not have equivalents in Arabic, and for them, often no special letters were created unlike, for example, in Persian and Urdu scripts. Instead, the closest Arabic sound is substituted. Not only did that mean that one letter often stands for more than one sound, but also writers made different choices of which consonant to substitute. Here are some of the equivalents between Arabic Swahili and Roman Swahili:
|ب||b p mb mp bw pw mbw mpw|
|ج||j nj ng ng' ny|
|ر||r d nd|
|ط||t tw chw|
|ظ||z th dh dhw|
|غ||gh g ng ng'|
|ف||f fy v vy mv p|
|ق||k g ng ch sh ny|
That was the general situation, but conventions from Urdu were adopted by some authors such as to distinguish aspiration and /p/ from /b/: پھا /pʰaa/ 'gazelle', پا /paa/ 'roof'. Although it is not found in Standard Swahili today, there is a distinction between dental and alveolar consonants in some dialects, which is reflected in some orthographies, for example in كُٹَ -kuta 'to meet' vs. كُتَ -kut̠a 'to be satisfied'. A k with the dots of y, ڱ, was used for ch in some conventions; ky being historically and even contemporaneously a more accurate transcription than Roman ch. In Mombasa, it was common to use the Arabic emphatics for Cw, for example in صِصِ swiswi (standard sisi) 'we' and كِطَ kit̠wa (standard kichwa) 'head'.
Word division differs from Roman norms. Particles such as ya, na, si, kwa, ni are joined to the following noun, and possessives such as yangu and yako are joined to the preceding noun, but verbs are written as two words, with the subject and tense–aspect–mood morphemes separated from the object and root, as in aliye niambia "he who asked me".
The ki-/vi- class historically consisted of two separate genders, artefacts (Bantu class 7/8, utensils and hand tools mostly) and diminutives (Bantu class 12), which were conflated at a stage ancestral to Swahili. Examples of the former are kisu "knife", kiti "chair" (from mti "tree, wood"), chombo "vessel" (a contraction of ki-ombo). Examples of the latter are kitoto "infant", from mtoto "child"; kitawi "frond", from tawi "branch"; and chumba (ki-umba) "room", from nyumba "house". It is the diminutive sense that has been furthest extended. An extension common to diminutives in many languages is approximation and resemblance (having a 'little bit' of some characteristic, like -y or -ish in English). For example, there is kijani "green", from jani "leaf" (compare English 'leafy'), kichaka "bush" from chaka "clump", and kivuli "shadow" from uvuli "shade". A 'little bit' of a verb would be an instance of an action, and such instantiations (usually not very active ones) are found: kifo "death", from the verb -fa "to die"; kiota "nest" from -ota "to brood"; chakula "food" from kula "to eat"; kivuko "a ford, a pass" from -vuka "to cross"; and kilimia "the Pleiades", from -limia "to farm with", from its role in guiding planting. A resemblance, or being a bit like something, implies marginal status in a category, so things that are marginal examples of their class may take the ki-/vi- prefixes. One example is chura (ki-ura) "frog", which is only half terrestrial and therefore is marginal as an animal. This extension may account for disabilities as well: kilema "a cripple", kipofu "a blind person", kiziwi "a deaf person". Finally, diminutives often denote contempt, and contempt is sometimes expressed against things that are dangerous. This might be the historical explanation for kifaru "rhinoceros", kingugwa "spotted hyena", and kiboko "hippopotamus" (perhaps originally meaning "stubby legs").
Another class with broad semantic extension is the m-/mi- class (Bantu classes 3/4). This is often called the 'tree' class, because mti, miti "tree(s)" is the prototypical example. However, it seems to cover vital entities neither human nor typical animals: trees and other plants, such as mwitu 'forest' and mtama 'millet' (and from there, things made from plants, like mkeka 'mat'); supernatural and natural forces, such as mwezi 'moon', mlima 'mountain', mto 'river'; active things, such as moto 'fire', including active body parts (moyo 'heart', mkono 'hand, arm'); and human groups, which are vital but not themselves human, such as mji 'village', and, by analogy, mzinga 'beehive/cannon'. From the central idea of tree, which is thin, tall, and spreading, comes an extension to other long or extended things or parts of things, such as mwavuli 'umbrella', moshi 'smoke', msumari 'nail'; and from activity there even come active instantiations of verbs, such as mfuo "metal forging", from -fua "to forge", or mlio "a sound", from -lia "to make a sound". Words may be connected to their class by more than one metaphor. For example, mkono is an active body part, and mto is an active natural force, but they are also both long and thin. Things with a trajectory, such as mpaka 'border' and mwendo 'journey', are classified with long thin things, as in many other languages with noun classes. This may be further extended to anything dealing with time, such as mwaka 'year' and perhaps mshahara 'wages'. Animals exceptional in some way and so not easily fitting in the other classes may be placed in this class.
The other classes have foundations that may at first seem similarly counterintuitive. In short,
- Classes 1–2 include most words for people: kin terms, professions, ethnicities, etc., including translations of most English words ending in -er. They include a couple generic words for animals: mnyama 'beast', mdudu 'bug'.
- Classes 5–6 have a broad semantic range of groups, expanses, and augmentatives. Although interrelated, it is easier to illustrate if broken down:
- Augmentatives, such as joka 'serpent' from nyoka 'snake', lead to titles and other terms of respect (the opposite of diminutives, which lead to terms of contempt): Bwana 'Sir', shangazi 'aunt', fundi 'craftsman', kadhi 'judge'.
- Expanses: ziwa 'lake', bonde 'valley', taifa 'country', anga 'sky'
- from this, mass nouns: maji 'water', vumbi 'dust' (and other liquids and fine particulates which may cover broad expanses), kaa 'charcoal', mali 'wealth', maridhawa 'abundance'
- Collectives: kundi 'group', kabila 'language/ethnic group', jeshi 'army', daraja ' stairs', manyoya 'fur, feathers', mapesa 'small change', manyasi 'weeds', jongoo 'millipede' (large set of legs), marimba 'xylophone' (large set of keys)
- from this, individual things found in groups: jiwe 'stone', tawi 'branch', ua 'flower', tunda 'fruit' (also the names of most fruits), yai 'egg', mapacha 'twins', jino 'tooth', tumbo 'stomach' (cf. English "guts"), and paired body parts such as jicho 'eye', bawa 'wing', etc.
- also collective or dialogic actions, which occur among groups of people: neno 'a word', from kunena 'to speak' (and by extension, mental verbal processes: wazo 'thought', maana 'meaning'); pigo 'a stroke, blow', from kupiga 'to hit'; gomvi 'a quarrel', shauri 'advice, plan', kosa 'mistake', jambo 'affair', penzi 'love', jibu 'answer', agano 'promise', malipo 'payment'
- From pairing, reproduction is suggested as another extension (fruit, egg, testicle, flower, twins, etc.), but these generally duplicate one or more of the subcategories above
- Classes 9–10 are used for most typical animals: ndege 'bird', samaki 'fish', and the specific names of typical beasts, birds, and bugs. However, this is the 'other' class, for words not fitting well elsewhere, and about half of the class 9–10 nouns are foreign loanwords. Loans may be classified as 9–10 because they lack the prefixes inherent in other classes, and most native class 9–10 nouns have no prefix. Thus they do not form a coherent semantic class, though there are still semantic extensions from individual words.
- Class 11 (which takes class 10 for the plural) are mostly nouns with an "extended outline shape", in either one dimension or two:
- mass nouns that are generally localized rather than covering vast expanses: uji 'porridge', wali 'cooked rice'
- broad: ukuta 'wall', ukucha 'fingernail', upande 'side' (≈ ubavu 'rib'), wavu 'net', wayo 'sole, footprint', ua 'fence, yard', uteo 'winnowing basket',
- long: utambi 'wick', utepe 'stripe', uta 'bow', ubavu 'rib', ufa 'crack', unywele 'a hair'
- from 'a hair', singulatives of nouns, which are often class 6 ('collectives') in the plural: unyoya 'a feather', uvumbi 'a grain of dust', ushanga 'a bead'
- Class 14 are abstractions, such as utoto 'childhood' (from mtoto 'a child') and have no plural. They have the same prefixes and concord as class 11, except optionally for adjectival concord.
- Class 15 are verbal infinitives.
- Classes 16–18 are locatives. The Bantu nouns of these classes have been lost; the only permanent member is the Arabic loan mahali 'place(s)', but in Mombasa Swahili, the old prefixes survive: pahali 'place', mwahali 'places'. However, any noun with the locative suffix -ni takes class 16–18 agreement. The distinction between them is that class 16 agreement is used if the location is intended to be definite ("at"), class 17 if indefinite ("around") or involves motion ("to, toward"), and class 18 if it involves containment ("within"): mahali pazuri 'a good spot', mahali kuzuri 'a nice area', mahali muzuri (it's nice in there).
Swahili phrases agree with nouns in a system of concord, but if the noun refers to a human, they accord with noun classes 1-2 regardless of their noun class. Verbs agree with the noun class of their subjects and objects; adjectives, prepositions and demonstratives agree with the noun class of their nouns. In Standard Swahili (Kiswahili sanifu), based on the dialect spoken in Zanzibar, the system is rather complex; however, it is drastically simplified in many local variants where Swahili is not a native language, such as in Nairobi. In non-native Swahili, concord reflects only animacy: human subjects and objects trigger a-, wa- and m-, wa- in verbal concord, while non-human subjects and objects of whatever class trigger i-, zi-. Infinitives vary between standard ku- and reduced i-. ("Of" is animate wa and inanimate ya, za.)
In Standard Swahili, human subjects and objects of whatever class trigger animacy concord in a-, wa- and m-, wa-, and non-human subjects and objects trigger a variety of gender-concord prefixes.
-C, -i, -e[* 1]
|1||person||m-, mw-||a-||m-||wa||m-, mwi-, mwe-|
|2||people||wa-, w-||wa-||wa-||wa||wa-, we-, we-|
|3||tree||m-||u-||wa||m-, mwi-, mwe-|
|4||trees||mi-||i-||ya||mi-, mi-, mye-|
|5||group, AUG||ji-/Ø, j-||li-||la||ji-/Ø, ji-, je-|
|6||groups, AUG||ma-||ya-||ya||ma-, mi-, me-|
|7||tool, DIM||ki-, ch-||ki-||cha||ki-, ki-, che-|
|8||tools, DIM||vi-, vy-||vi-||vya||vi-, vi-, vye-|
|N-||i-||ya||N-, nyi-, nye-|
|11||extension||u-, w-/uw-||u-||wa||m-, mwi-, mwe-|
|10||(plural of 11)||N-||zi-||za||N-, nyi-, nye-|
|14||abstraction||u-, w-/uw-||u-||wa||m-, mwi-, mwe-
or u-, wi-, we-
|15||infinitives||ku-, kw-[* 2]||ku-||kwa-||ku-, kwi-, kwe-|
|16||position||-ni, mahali||pa-||pa||pa-, pi-, pe-|
|17||direction, around||-ni||ku-||kwa||ku-, kwi-, kwe-|
|18||within, along||-ni||mu-||mwa||mu-, mwi-, mwe-|
- Most Swahili adjectives begin with either a consonant or the vowels i- or e-, listed separately above. The few adjectives beginning with other vowels do not agree with all noun classes since some are restricted to humans. NC 1 m(w)- is mw- before a and o, and reduces to m- before u; wa- does not change; and ki-, vi-, mi- become ch-, vy-, my- before o but not before u: mwanana, waanana "gentle", mwororo, waororo, myororo, chororo, vyororo "mild, yielding", mume, waume, kiume, viume "male".
- In a few verbs: kwenda, kwisha
This list is based Swahili and Sabaki: a linguistic history.
Maho (2009) considers these to be distinct languages:
- Kimwani is spoken in the Kerimba Islands and northern coastal Mozambique.
- Chimwiini is spoken by the ethnic minorities in and around the town of Barawa on the southern coast of Somalia.
- Kibajuni is spoken by the Bajuni minority ethnic group on the coast and islands on both sides of the Somali–Kenyan border and in the Bajuni Islands (the northern part of the Lamu archipelago) and is also called Kitikuu and Kigunya.
- Socotra Swahili (extinct)
- Sidi, in Gujarat (extinct)
The rest of the dialects are divided by him into two groups:
- Mombasa–Lamu Swahili
- Kiamu is spoken in and around the island of Lamu (Amu).
- Kipate is local dialect of Pate Island, considered to be closest to the original dialect of Kingozi.
- Kingozi is an ancient dialect spoken on the Indian Ocean coast between Lamu and Somalia and is sometimes still used in poetry. It is often considered the source of Swahili.
- Chijomvu is a subdialect of the Mombasa area.
- Kimvita is the major dialect of Mombasa (also known as "Mvita", which means "war", in reference to the many wars which were fought over it), the other major dialect alongside Kiunguja.
- Kingare is the subdialect of the Mombasa area.
- Kimrima is spoken around Pangani, Vanga, Dar es Salaam, Rufiji and Mafia Island.
- Kiunguja is spoken in Zanzibar City and environs on Unguja (Zanzibar) Island. Kitumbatu (Pemba) dialects occupy the bulk of the island.
- Mambrui, Malindi
- Chichifundi, a dialect of the southern Kenya coast.
- Kivumba, a dialect of the southern Kenya coast.
- Nosse Be (Madagascar)
- Pemba Swahili
- Kipemba is a local dialect of the Pemba Island.
- Kitumbatu and Kimakunduchi are the countryside dialects of the island of Zanzibar. Kimakunduchi is a recent renaming of "Kihadimu"; the old name means "serf" and so is considered pejorative.
- Mafia, Mbwera
- Kilwa (extinct)
- Kimgao used to be spoken around Kilwa District and to the south.
Historically recent varieties
- Shaba Swahili (Katanga Swahili, Lubumbashi Swahili) is sometimes called Copperbelt Swahili.
- Sheng is a street patois that blends Swahili, English, and ethnic languages spoken in Kenya and around Nairobi. Originating in the Nairobi slums, it is considered fashionable and cosmopolitan in a growing segment of the population.
- Asian Swahili (Kibabu) and Cutchi-Swahili
- Kisetla (Settler Swahili)
In Somalia, where the Afro-Asiatic Somali language predominates, a variant of Swahili referred to as Chimwiini (also known as Chimbalazi) is spoken along the Benadir coast by the Bravanese people. Another Swahili dialect known as Kibajuni also serves as the mother tongue of the Bajuni minority ethnic group, which lives in the tiny Bajuni Islands as well as the southern Kismayo region.
- Thomas J. Hinnebusch, 1992, "Swahili", International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Oxford, pp. 99–106
David Dalby, 1999/2000, The Linguasphere Register of the World's Languages and Speech Communities, Linguasphere Press, Volume Two, pp. 733–735
Benji Wald, 1994, "Sub-Saharan Africa", Atlas of the World's Languages, Routledge, pp. 289–346, maps 80, 81, 85
- "HOME - Home". Swahililanguage.stanford.edu. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
After Arabic, Swahili is the most widely used African language but the number of its speakers is another area in which there is little agreement. The most commonly mentioned numbers are 50, 80, and 100 million people. [...] The number of its native speakers has been conservatively placed at just under 2 million.
- Hinnebusch, Thomas J. (2003). "Swahili". In William J. Frawley. International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (2 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. (subscription required (. ))
First-language (L1) speakers of Swahili, who probably number no more than two million [...]
- Swahili at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Congo Swahili at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Coastal Swahili at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Makwe at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Mwani at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Swahili (G.40)". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
- Prins 1961
- Nurse and Hinnebusch, 1993, p.18
- Karanja, Peter N. (2012). "Kiswahili Dialects Endangered: The Case of Kiamu and Kimvita" (PDF). International Journal of Humanities and Social Science: 95–117.
- Nurse and Hinnebusch, 1993
- The Routledge Concise Compendium of the World's Languages (2nd ed.), George L. Campbell and Gareth King. Routledge (2011), p. 678. ISBN 978-0-415-47841-0
- Kharusi, N. S. (2012). "The ethnic label Zinjibari: Politics and language choice implications among Swahili speakers in Oman". Ethnicities. 12 (3): 335–353. doi:10.1177/1468796811432681.
- E. A. Alpers, Ivory and Slaves in East Central Africa, London, 1975, pp. 98–99 ; T. Vernet, "Les cités-Etats swahili et la puissance omanaise (1650–1720), Journal des Africanistes, 72(2), 2002, pp. 102–105.
- "Baba yetu". Wikisource. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
- Whiteley 1969: 80
- Wanambisi, Laban (5 December 2016). "International schools must teach Kiswahili, Kenya's history – Matiang'i". Capital News. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- Nurse & Thomas Spear (1985) The Swahili
- Adriaan Hendrik Johan Prins (1961) The Swahili-speaking Peoples of Zanzibar and the East African Coast. (Ethnologue)
- Brock-Utne 2001: 123
- Kambale, Juakali (10 August 2004). "DRC welcomes Swahili as an official AU language". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- (2005 World Bank Data).
- Swahili proverbs Kishwahili.net, retrieved 10 March 2013
- Lemelle, Sidney J. "'Ni wapi Tunakwenda': Hip Hop Culture and the Children of Arusha". In The Vinyl Ain't Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture, ed. by Dipannita Basu and Sidney J. Lemelle, 230–54. London; Ann Arbor, Michigan: Pluto Press.
- speakswahili (10 February 2012). "SPEAK SWAHILI LESSON 1" – via YouTube.
- "Useful Swahili Words".
- "Swahili alphabet, pronunciation and language".
- Jan Knappert (1971) Swahili Islamic poetry, Volume 1
- See Contini-Morava for details.
- Kamil Ud Deen, 2005. The acquisition of Swahili.
- H.E.Lambert 1956, 1957, 1958
- Derek Nurse; Thomas Spear; Thomas T. Spear. The Swahili: Reconstructing the History and Language of an African Society, 800-1500. p. 65.
- "Somalia". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
- Mwakikagile, Godfrey (2007). Kenya: identity of a nation. New Africa Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-9802587-9-0.
- "Oman". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
- Fuchs, Martina (2011-10-05). "African Swahili music lives on in Oman". Reuters. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
- Beate Ursula Josephi, Journalism education in countries with limited media freedom, Volume 1 of Mass Communication and Journalism, (Peter Lang: 2010), p.96.
- Ashton, E. O. Swahili Grammar: Including intonation. Longman House. Essex 1947. ISBN 0-582-62701-X.
- Irele, Abiola and Biodun Jeyifo. The Oxford encyclopedia of African thought, Volume 1. Oxford University Press US. New York City. 2010. ISBN 0-19-533473-6
- Blommaert, Jan: Situating language rights: English and Swahili in Tanzania revisited (sociolinguistic developments in Tanzanian Swahili) – Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies, paper 23, University of Gent 2003
- Brock-Utne, Birgit (2001). "Education for all – in whose language?". Oxford Review of Education. 27 (1): 115–134. doi:10.1080/03054980125577.
- Chiraghdin, Shihabuddin and Mathias E. Mnyampala. Historia ya Kiswahili. Oxford University Press. Eastern Africa. 1977. ISBN 0-19-572367-8
- Contini-Morava, Ellen. Noun Classification in Swahili. 1994.
- Lambert, H.E. 1956. Chi-Chifundi: A Dialect of the Southern Kenya Coast. (Kampala)
- Lambert, H.E. 1957. Ki-Vumba: A Dialect of the Southern Kenya Coast. (Kampala)
- Lambert, H.E. 1958. Chi-Jomvu and ki-Ngare: Subdialects of the Mombasa Area. (Kampala)
- Marshad, Hassan A. Kiswahili au Kiingereza (Nchini Kenya). Jomo Kenyatta Foundation. Nairobi 1993. ISBN 9966-22-098-4.
- Nurse, Derek, and Hinnebusch, Thomas J. Swahili and Sabaki: a linguistic history. 1993. Series: University of California Publications in Linguistics, v. 121.
- Ogechi, Nathan Oyori: "On language rights in Kenya (on the legal position of Swahili in Kenya)", in: Nordic Journal of African Studies 12(3): 277–295 (2003)
- Prins, A.H.J. 1961. "The Swahili-Speaking Peoples of Zanzibar and the East African Coast (Arabs, Shirazi and Swahili)". Ethnographic Survey of Africa, edited by Daryll Forde. London: International African Institute.
- Prins, A.H.J. 1970. A Swahili Nautical Dictionary. Preliminary Studies in Swahili Lexicon – 1. Dar es Salaam.
- Whiteley, Wilfred. 1969. Swahili: the rise of a national language. London: Methuen. Series: Studies in African History.
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Swahili|
|Swahili edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Swahili language.|
|Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Swahili.|
- UCLA report on Swahili
- John Ogwana (2001) Swahili Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Factors of Its Development and Expansion
- List of Swahili Dictionaries