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Languages & Phrases

Habari Hah-bar-ee Hello/Hi
Kwa Heri Co-wah Heh-ree Good Bye!
Unasema Kiingereza / Swahili Oo-nah-seh-mah Kee-ehn-geh-reh-zah / Swah-hee-lee Do you speak English / Spanish?
Jina Langu Ni... Gee-nah Lahn-goo Nee My name is…
Unaweza Kunsaidia Oo-nah-weh-zah Koo-nee-sai-eed-ee-ah Can you help me?
Mimi Nina Kuangalia Kwa... Mee-mee Nee-nah Koo-ahn-gah-lee-ah Co-wah I’m looking for…
Ndiyo / Hakuna Un-dee-yoh / Hah-koo-nah Yes / No
Asante Ah-san-tay Mr / Mrs / Miss
Leo / Sasa Lee-oh / Sah-sah Today / Now
Kesho / Jana Keh-show / Jah-nah Tomorrow / Yesterday
Hii / Kwamba / Hapa / Huko Hee / Co-wahm-bah / Hah-pah / Hoo-koh This / That / Here / There


Above are a few common Swahili phrases to help you get around.


There are around 70 languages spoken in Kenya with most being indigenous to the region and a few being imported from foreign countries. Most prominent is Swahili which developed during the 1st Millennium AD following the boost in trade and commerce with the Gulf and South East Asia. Additionally, English is used throughout the country frequently, especially for business transactions.

Indigenous languages can be broken into two main groups, the Niger-Congo languages which include Kikuyu, Kamba and Ekegusii, and the Nilo-Saharan languages which include Dholuo, Kalenjin and Maasai, among others. Additionally, many Afro-Asiatic languages such as Oromo and Arabic, as well as many Indo-European languages such as Hindustani and German, are also spoken frequently.