Chapter 2 - Greetings
Swahili people pay a lot of importance to the exchange of greetings. Politeness recommends that you dedicate some moments to greeting a person and enquiring about his/her health, his/her activities, and possibly about his/her close relations, especially if you didn't meet each other for quite a while. It is only after this good humoured though formal exchange that you will brooch into the heart of the matter, or that you'll take leave of the person, with abundant goodbyes !
1. COMMON GREETINGS :
  GREETINGS
  ANSWERS
  - Jambo !
  = Hello !
  - Jambo !
   = Hello !
  - Jambo Bwana.
  = Hello, Sir.
  - Jambo !
   = Hello !
  - Jambo Mama.
  = Hello, Madam.
  - Jambo !
   = Hello !
  - Salama?
  = Are you fine?
  - Salama !
   = Fine !
  - Mambo (vipi)?
  = How are things?
  - Poa tu ! / Safi !
   = Cool !
But this is just for the tourists ! Whenever possible, prefer using these more authentic greetings, that will make you pass for a real "mswahili" :
  - Hujambo !
  = How are you ?
  - Jambo !
   = Hello !
  - Hamjambo !
  = How are you ? (Plur)
  - Jambo !
   = Hello !
  - Shikamoo !
  = My respects ! (to an elder person)
  - Jambo !
   = Hello !
2. THE EXCHANGE OF NEWS :
These simple greetings are often followed by more precise questions, on the time of the day, the health, the family, the children, etc...

All these questions start with the word HABARI which means "news".

There are two possibilities : either you are expecting a precise answer : in this case you use Habari ya ... ? (= What's the news of ... ? ), or you are simply asking out of mere politeness, without any precise intention, in that case you use Habari za ... ? (= What are the news of ... ? ).
  - Habari ?
  - What's new ?
  - Habari gani ?
  - How are you ?
  - Habari yako / zako ?
  - What are your news ?
  - Habari ya / za leo ?
  - How are you today ?
  - Habari ya / za asubuhi ?
  - How are you this morning ?
  - Habari ya / za mchana ?
  - How are you this afternoon ?
  - Habari ya / za jioni ?
  - How are you this evening ?
  - Habari ya / za nyumbani ?
  - What about your home ?
  - Habari ya / za kazi ?
  - What about your work ?
  - Habari ya / za mtoto ?
  - How is the child ?
  - Habari ya / za mtoto ?
  - How is/was your journey ?
Except in case of misfortune (death, serious illness, etc...) you will invariably answer with :
  - Njema !
  or - Nzuri !
  or - Salama !
   = Fine !


Chakubanga

- Haya ! Bwana Chaku habari gani ?
- Habari nikuulize wewe uliyelundika nguo
kichwani ukaacha mapajani je una kichaa ?


- So ! Mr Chaku how are you ?
- I should return your question, you who piled your skirt
on your head, say, are you mad ?
3. OTHER COMMON EXPRESSIONS :
  - Subalkheri !
  - Good morning ! (Arabic greeting)
  - Masalkheri !
  - Good morning ! (Arabic greeting)
  - Hamjambo nyumbani ?
  - How is the family ?
  - U hali gani ?
  - How are you ?
  - U mzima ?
  - Your health is good ?
  - (Ni) mzima
  - I am well.
  - Na wewe ?
  - And you ?
  - Na wewe pia ?
  - And you (are you well) ?
  - Haya !
  - So ! / O.K. ! / Let's go !
  - Naam !
  - Yes ? (In answer to a call)
  - Ndiyo
  - Yes
  - Siyo / Hapana
  - No
  - Aha !
  - No !
  - Tafadhali
  - Please
  - Asante (sana)
  - Thank you (very much)
  - Hamna shida
  - Don't mention it / No problem

When a person feels poor or has undergone a bereavement, you tell him / her :
  - Pole !
  - Sorry !
  - Pole na msiba wako !
  - My sincere sympathy !

When a person goes on a journey, you can also tell him / her :
  - Pole na safari !
  - Be careful !
  - Safari njema !
  - Have a good journey !
The expected answer is naturally always :
  - Asante !
  - Thank you !
4. VISITING SOMEBODY AT HOME :

To announce your presence to somebody, you shout in front of the door :
  - Hodi !
  - Anybody's home ?

To which the person anwers :
  - Karibu !
  - You're welcome !
  - Karibuni !
  - You're all welcome ! (To several people)
  - Starehe !
  - Feel at ease !

to which you always answer :
  - Asante !
  - Thank you !
  - Asanteni !
  - Thank you ! (To several people)
5. GOOD-BYES :
  - Kwa heri !
  - Good bye ! (To a single person)
  - Kwa herini !
  - Good bye ! (To several people)
  - Kwa heri ya kuonana !
  - See you soon !
  - Tutaonana !
  - See you again.
  - Tutaonana kesho.
  - See you tomorrow !
  - Asubuhi njema.
  - Have a good morning !
When taking leave at night, you can wish :

  - Usiku mwema !
  - Good night !
At the time of sleeping, you can also wish :
  - Lala salama !
  - Sweet dreams !




Thats it for today!






EXERCISES

EXERCISE 1 : Watch the Jambo Bwana Song and practice (feel free to leave a comment on the page): Jambo Song
EXERCISE 2 : translate into English :

              1. - Hodi !
              2. - Karibu !
              3. - Starehe !
              4. - Jambo mama !
              5. - Jambo bwana !
              6. - Hamjambo nyumbani ?
              7. - Njema. Habari zako ?
              8. - Nzuri sana. Haya, kwa heri !
              9. - Asante. Kwa heri ya kuonana !
             10. - Haya ! Tutaonana kesho.
EXERCISE 3 : Translate into Swahili :

              1. - Hello ! How are you ? - I am fine.
              2. - How is work ? - Fine.
              3. - What about home ? - Fine.
              4. - Sorry ! - Thank you very much.
              5. - My respects - Thank you.
              6. - Anybody's home ? - Welcome !
              7. - How is the health ? - Well.
              8. - Hello ! - Hello !
              9. - Good bye. See you tomorrow. - OK !
             10.- Good night, sweet dreams ! - Thank you, the same to you.