Swahili, a language spoken on the East Coast of Africa, has its origins in the Bantu language. Bantu is spoken through most of the East and Central regions of Africa. It is not an easy language to learn as it does not follow a simple language structure. It is a language that has evolved as western influence infiltrated the region. The language, as result is incorporated with English, German, Hindu, Hebrew, Chinese, Portuguese, and Persian words. These languages were used to make up for words that the people along the Swahili Coast had not used before. The most common loaned words are from the Arabic language. Some Swahili words have been incorporated into other languages; the most common word is Safari which can be found in the English language.
The Swahili Culture
Swahili is not only a language, it is a culture and a people. To learn more about the Swahili coast visit this PBS website. The site contains information about the wonders of the Swahili coast, the Swahili identity, and a tutorial on how to speak Swahili. The Swahili Culture page from Wikipedia discusses the Swahili history, arts and crafts, and music of the region. Listen to Swahili music on Bongo Radio Online. The station broadcasts from Chicago and plays music oldies and current hits from East Africa.
Learning to Speak Swahili
For anyone interested in learning to speak Swahili the Kamusi Project website is a great place to start. To find a school in North America that teaches Swahili, search the Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) database of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition. For online lessons for beginners visit Mwana Simba; the website also has a listing of Swahili proverbs and Swahili music and songs, some with lyrics and on MP3 files.
News in Swahili
Listening and reading the language can sharpen spoken and written skills. Read the world news in Swahili at BBC online at BBCSwahili.com or read and listen to world news in Swahili at VOANews.com. For people interested in current news, they can read local Tanzanian print newspapers online in Swahili.
Other Miscellaneous Resources
List of movies with Swahili spoken or Swahili subtitles