Here space all the methods you can say “Hello” in Swahili. (And no, “Jambo” isn’t among them.)

The first word you learn in any language is “hello”. (Or maybe a make an oath word, for part people!). Yet learning “hello” in Swahili means learning come greet someone eight various ways — at least!

The many surprising things to plenty of wazungu (like us) is the “jambo” isn’t in reality a greeting civilization use lot anymore — unless they’re trying come squeeze friend for your tourist dollars. It’s a little bit like “hakuna matata”, i m sorry nobody actually states either.

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These room the kinds of people you’d say “Shikamoo” to together a “hello” in Swahili

See who old sufficient to it is in a grandparent, or soeone you understand to be someone of importance? Greet them through “Shikamoo“, or in many (for a group of grandmotherly women, because that example), “Shikamooni”.

(Note on pronunciation. It’s a longer “o”, not an “u”-like sound.)

Shikamoo has actually a literal feeling of “I touch her feet” apparently, although the word doesn’t exactly come up otherwise.

You deserve to use that on people who are absolutely over 60 years old or who you understand to be a mayor, a senior religious figure, or maybe a headmaster.

If you to speak it come the wrong human being they’ll be politely amused and also never offended.

But if you to speak it confidently, and also to the best person, you’ll to win gold: they’ll beam earlier at you “Marahaba!” which is the conventional greeting in response. That’s exactly how you’ll understand you’re winning at Swahili.

Hujambo (and that is friends)

You might learn indigenous textbooks that you have the right to greet human being with hujambo or hamjambo (plural, greeting a group). The response to these are sijambo (just yourself) or hatujambo (plural, because that a group).

These space correct, and you deserve to use them. Castle literally typical something favor “you have any kind of things?”, the responses being that no, you have no things.

They’re a little bookish though, a bit like saying “hello” in English. Most people will commonly opt because that “hi” or another more formal greeting like “good morning”. A full “hello” is rarer.

Habari ya/za… anything

Habari means “news” in Swahili. You can know this indigenous if you know Arabic or any type of other language the has borrowed the native “news” from Arabic.

If you’re a beginner in ~ Swahili, it’s yes sir to just say “Habari!” as a greeting. Yet there are many much more applications.

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

There are plenty of more. So maybe just stick with “Habari” to keep it simple!

You could wonder why few of the over are z and also some y words. Some people learn habari ya asubuhi, and also some discover habari za asubuhi. This is all to carry out with noun classes. Examine out our Swahili noun classes cheat sheet if you’re interested in that.

Sounding cool: “Shwari, wazee!”

If you view a team of young civilization (max 30 years old), friend can try your hand through “Shwari!”

Or if you’re yes, really game, “Shwari, wazee!”. This sounds like “What’s increase guys!”

The word wazee is the plural of mzee, which is a polite title because that an yonsi person.

But if you say it come young world it’s as with “guys”.

I walk this once or twice and also pulled that off however I’m no the sort of human to greet random world with “what’s increase guys” for this reason I simply did it as a dare to myself then relocated on.

“How’s it going”: Unakuwaje?

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

You never ever say the “are” in “How room you?” for example.

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But there space a number of expressions wherein you have the right to use the kuwa verb. It’s best not come think too hard around them, just know that you have the right to say:

Unakuwaje?: This method “How are you doing?”Inakuwaje?: This way “How is it?”Unaendeleaje?: This method “How space you going?”, taken as “How are you doing”.

You could hear much more variants ~ above that, yet they mean normally the very same thing.