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Learn How to Talk About Your Family in Swahili

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Did you know that only some reptiles and birds don’t parent their offspring? Except for crocodiles, all reptiles (and one family of bird species called megapodes) hatch from eggs and grow up alone, without any family.

The rest of us need family if we are to survive and thrive – humans and animals alike!

At SwahiliPod101, we know how important family is. Therefore, we take care to teach you all the important vocabulary and phrases pertaining to family.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Is It Important to Know Swahili Vocabulary about Family?
  2. Learn a New Culture? Learn its Family Vocab first
  3. How SwahiliPod101 Can Help You Learn Swahili Family Terms

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in Swahili

1. Why Is It Important to Know Swahili Vocabulary about Family?

Lioness with Cub

Well, if you’re serious about studying any new language, then learning about the most important social unit in Kenyan culture would be a crucial part of your education.

What is family, though? Strictly speaking, it’s a group of people who live together and are supposed to take care of one another. Some of them are genetically linked.

Family isn’t just about who we’re related to by blood, of course. It’s also one of the main influences in shaping every child’s life.

Family is Important for Children’s Healthy Development

Phrases Parents Say

Family is the single most important influence in a child’s life. Children depend on parents and family to protect them and provide for their needs from the day they were born.

Primary caregivers, which usually comprise parents and family, form a child’s first relationships. They are a child’s first teachers and are role models that show kids how to act and experience the world around them.

By nurturing and teaching children during their early years, families play an important role in making sure children are ready to learn when they enter school.

Families Can Take All Shapes and Sizes

However, the way families are put together is by no means standard.

Mom and Daughter

Single-parent and same-gender households have become a new norm the past few decades, and there’s no shame in this. When there is love, connection and proper care, a child can thrive anywhere.

Everyone also knows that sometimes friends can become like family and remain with us for life, because it’s all about human connection.

After all, we share many commonalities simply because we’re human, and we are programmed to connect with one another and belong to a group. This is very important for our well-being and survival.

It’s All About Feeling Connected

As John Northman, a psychologist from Buffalo, NY, told WebMD – feeling connected to others contributes to mental as well as physical health.

He pointed out that when people feel connected, they feel better physically, and they’re also less likely to feel depressed.

Couples Chatting

Or, if they do feel depressed, they’d be in a better position to get out of it when they feel they are connecting with others. This is because they would be psychologically supported too, Northman said.

There has even been some links drawn between addiction and feeling disconnected from others. According to an article in Psychology Today, research indicates that addiction is not solely a substance disorder, but also affected by people feeling insecurely attached to others.

It showed that securely attached individuals tend to feel comfortable in and enjoy life, while insecurely attached people typically struggle to fit in and connect.

2. Learn a New Culture? Learn its Family Vocab first

So, it’s clear that for most of us, family is our entry point into connection and belonging. This is true of every culture, so in every country, family takes prominence.

For this reason, SwahiliPod101 offers culturally-relevant lessons that will equip you well to understand families in Kenya.

Here are some of the most important Swahili vocabulary and quotes about family and parenting!

A) Swahili Family Vocabulary

Let’s start with the basic vocabulary. Without this collection of words, you’ll have a hard time describing any member of your family at all.

Family Terms
Family
jamaa
Great grandfather
babu mkuu
Mother
mama
Grandmother
nyanya
Father
baba
Grandfather
babu
Wife
mke
Grandchild
mjukuu
Husband
mume
Granddaughter
mjukuu
Parent
mzazi
Grandson
mjukuu
Child
mtoto
Aunt
shangazi
Daughter
binti
Uncle
mjomba
Sister
dada
Niece
mpwa wa kike
Brother
kaka
Nephew
mpwa
Younger sister
dada mdogo
Younger brother
kaka mdogo
Older brother
kaka mkubwa
Great grandmother
nyanya mkuu
Cousin
binamu
Mother-in-law
mama mkwe
Father-in-law
baba mkwe
Sister-in-law
shemeji
Brother-in-law
shemeji
Partner
mpenzi

Family of Three

B) Quotes About Family

Swahili Family Quotes

One of the ways to improve your Swahili language skills is by memorizing quotes from books, or poems.

Either source some from Swahili literature, or make use of ours!

Huwezi kuchagua familia yako. Wao ni zawadi kwako kutoka kwa Mungu, vile ulivyo zawadi kwao.

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” – Desmond Tutu

Familia si jambo muhimu. Ni kila kitu.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

Familia inamaana kuwa hakuna mtu anayewachwa nyuma au kusahaulika.

“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” – David Ogden Stiers

Familia yangu ni nguvu yangu na udhaifu wangu.

“My family is my strength and my weakness.” – Aishwarya Rai

Familia ni mojayapo ya asili maalum ya maumbile.

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” – George Santayana

Shida ijapo, ni familia yako inayokusaidia.

“When trouble comes, it’s your family that supports you.” – Guy Lafleur

Familia ni chembechembe cha kwanza muhimu katika jamii ya binadamu.

“The family is the first essential cell of human society.” – Pope John XXIII

Hakuna kitu kama vile burudani ya familia nzima.

“There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.” – Jerry Seinfeld

Unapaswa kudhibiti heshima yako. Na familia yako.

“You have to defend your honor. And your family.” – Suzanne Vega

Familia zote zenye furaha hufanana; kila familia isiyo na furaha haina furaha kwa njia yake tofauti.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy

C) Test Your Knowledge!

Do you feel you have learned a lot in this blog? Let’s quickly test that!

In the table below, match the Swahili vocabulary on the left with the definition of the relative in the right column.

MY RELATIVES
Relative Name Definition
1. jamaa a. My male child
2. mama b. My older male sibling
3. baba c. My female sibling
4. mke d. My child’s child
5. mume e. My child’s female child
6. mzazi f. My female parent
7. mtoto g. My grandparent’s mother
8. binti h. Mother to one of my parents
9. kijana i. Relatives
10. dada j. My female child
11. kaka k. My younger male sibling
12. dada mdogo l. Male spouse
13. kaka m. The father of one of my parents
14. kaka mkubwa n. My child’s male child
15. nyanya mkuu o. My children’s father or mother
16. babu mkuu p. The sister of one of my parents
17. nyanya q. The brother of one of my parents
18. babu r. My male parent
19. mjukuu s. My sibling’s female child
20. mjukuu t. My sibling’s male child
21. mjukuu u. My male sibling
22. shangazi v. My parents’ sibling’s child
23. mjomba w. Female spouse
24. mpwa wa kike x. The grandfather of one of my parents
25. mpwa y. The person I am a parent to
26. binamu z. My younger female sibling

How did it go? Don’t worry if you had trouble with it – you’ll get there! With a bit of practice, and our help at SwahiliPod101, you’ll soon have these family terms under the belt.

Family Shopping

3. How SwahiliPod101 Can Help You Learn Swahili Family Terms

We hope that we helped you expand your family in Swahili vocabulary!

SwahiliPod101, with its innovative online learning system, stands out among online learning platforms to help you master Swahili easily.

Our lessons are tailored not only to increase your language skills, but to also inform you of Kenyan culture, including the Kenyan family structure.

When you sign up, you will get instant access to tools like:

1 – An extensive vocabulary list, regularly updated
2 – A new Swahili word to learn every day
3 – Quick access to the Swahili Key Phrase List
4 – A free Swahili online dictionary
5 – The excellent 100 Core Swahili Word List
6 – An almost limitless Lesson Library for learners of all levels

Further speed up your learning with the help of a personal tutor, who will first assess your current Swahili language abilities to personalize your training and tailor it to your needs.

Hard work always pays off, and to help you in this, SwahiliPod101 will be there every step of the way toward your Swahili mastery!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in Swahili

Answers: 1.i. 2.f. 3.r. 4.w. 5.l. 6.o. 7.y. 8.j. 9.a. 10.c. 11.u. 12.z. 13.k. 14.b. 15.g 16.x. 17.h. 18.m. 19.d. 20.e. 21.n. 22.p. 23.q. 24.s. 25.t. 26.v.