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LESSON #44: Vowels (Vokali)

Swahili vowels (vokali) are similar to the ones found in the English alphabet but the big difference comes with the pronunciation. As you may know the 5 vowels in English have multiple ways of pronouncing them depending on a number of things like the letter found before or after them. eg. Man vs Make, Egg vs England, Indiana vs Iris, Post vs Cost, Unity vs Undo…….etc, you get the point. In the case of the Swahili language, the five vowels have just one way of pronouncing them (one sound) no matter where they are placed in a word.

So let’s learn how to pronounce these vowels using the following easy to understand examples:

a= Afrika, Alive, Sad, Alice, Clap, Among……..

e= Elephant, Beg, Envision, Bled, Egg……………

i= Ink, Pig, Immature, Cringe, Intel……………

o= Or, Cost, Lot, Pot, Dot…………

u= Push, Rude, Full……………

Now armed with that knowledge try saying these simple Swahili words, break a leg!

  • Pika [cook]                      
  • Kula [eat]
  • Gari [car]
  • Chai [tea]
  • Fanana [resemble]
  • Nunua [buy]
  • Uza [sell]
  • Pakia [load (v)]
  • Leta [bring]
  • Rudi [return]
  • Elewa [understand]
  • Awali [initially]
  • Ogopa [fear (v)]
  • Ita [call]
  • Uhuru [freedom]

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