Here are all the means you deserve to say “Hello” in Swahili. (And no, “Jambo” isn’t one of them.)

The initially word you learn in any type of language is “hello”. (Or maybe a swear word, for some people!). But discovering “hello” in Swahili suggests finding out to greet someone eight different ways — at least!

The the majority of surpclimbing things to many type of wazungu (choose us) is that “jambo” isn’t actually a greeting world use much anymore — unless they’re trying to squeeze you for your tourist dollars. It’s a bit like “hakuna matata”, which nobody actually says either.

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These are the kinds of civilization you’d say “Shikamoo” to as a “hello” in Swahili

See someone old sufficient to be a grandparent, or soeone you understand to be someone of importance? Greet them with “Shikamoo“, or in plural (for a team of grandmotherly woguys, for example), “Shikamooni”.

(Keep in mind on pronunciation. It’s a much longer “o”, not an “u”-prefer sound.)

Shikamoo has a literal feeling of “I touch your feet” apparently, although that word doesn’t precisely come up otherwise.

You deserve to use it on world who are absolutely over 60 years old or that you understand to be a mayor, a senior spiritual figure, or probably a headgrasp.

If you say it to the wrong perchild they’ll be politely amsupplied and never before offfinished.

But if you say it confidently, and to the best perkid, you’ll strike gold: they’ll beam earlier at you “Marahaba!” which is the conventional greeting in response. That’s just how you’ll know you’re winning at Swahili.

Hujambo (and its friends)

You could learn from textbooks that you can greet civilization through hujambo or hamjambo (plural, greeting a group). The response to these are sijambo (just yourself) or hatujambo (plural, for a group).

These are correct, and you deserve to use them. They literally suppose something favor “you have any things?”, the responses being that no, you have no things.

They’re a tiny bookish though, a little prefer saying “hello” in English. Many people will certainly usually opt for “hi” or another even more formal greeting choose “good morning”. A complete “hello” is rarer.

Habari ya/za… anything

Habari suggests “news” in Swahili. You can understand this word if you understand Arabic or any type of various other language that has actually borrowed the word “news” from Arabic.

If you’re a beginner at Swahili, it’s OK to simply say “Habari!” as a greeting. But there are many more applications.

Habari za leo: How are you now (“News of today?”)Habari za asubuhi: Good morning (“News of the morning?”)Habari yako?: How are you (to one person). (“Your news?”)Habari zenu?: How are you (to a group)Habari ya siku?: How are you today? (“News of the day?”)

Tbelow are many kind of more. So maybe simply stick through “Habari” to keep it simple!

You might wonder why some of the above are z and also some y words. Some civilization learn habari ya asubuhi, and also some learn habari za asubuhi. This is all to carry out through noun classes. Check out our Swahili noun classes cheat sheet if you’re interested in that.

Sounding cool: “Shwari, wazee!”

If you see a group of young people (max 30 years old), you can try your hand also via “Shwari!”

Or if you’re really game, “Shwari, wazee!”. This sounds choose “What’s up guys!”

The word wazee is the plural of mzee, which is a polite title for an elderly person.

But if you say it to young people it’s just like “guys”.

I did this once or twice and also pulled it off however I’m not the type of perboy to greet random people through “what’s up guys” so I just did it as a dare to myself then moved on.

“How’s it going”: Unakuwaje?

The verb “to be” (kuwa) isn’t offered in Swahili the means it’s supplied in English. It’s highly irregular.

You never say the “are” in “How are you?” for instance.

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But tbelow are a number of expressions wright here you can usage the kuwa verb. It’s best not to think also difficult about them, just recognize that you have the right to say:

Unakuwaje?: This indicates “How are you doing?”Inakuwaje?: This implies “How is it?”Unaendeleaje?: This implies “How are you going?”, construed as “How are you doing”.

You might hear more variants on that, but they mean mostly the very same thing.