Learning the Swahili language has never been walking in the park despite the fact that constant progress in technology seems to make handwriting a thing of the past, do not underestimate the power of writing things down to stimulate your memory! Keep a notebook where you can write down all the new words and the main grammar points. The physical effort to actually write the words down helps to memorize them better, and using different colored inks makes it even more eye-catching.
Connect with Swahili language learners and teachers online
If you have access to a good internet connection, you can look for Swahili language classes with native speakers through programs such as Google meet or zoom. You can use this not only for conversation classes but also for grammar and writing classes since the chat works just like an ordinary whiteboard! You can also find many online platforms where you can offer language exchanges with users who are interested in learning your own language… a great way to make new friends, too.
The learning potential of songs has been recognized by many Swahili language learners and researchers, and I can confirm it from students who have passed through my hands. My advice, in this case, would be to not be discouraged by complicated lyrics – take small steps, learn the chorus first and then move to the rest. But also, do not be disappointed when you find out that a song has a completely different meaning from what you had imagined – at least, you have learned enough of the language to realize it! And finally, the little practice accumulates to a point where you can start reducing the error to
Change the language settings in your phone and applications to Swahili language
One of the first things I always recommend to my students is to switch all their devices and social networks to Swahili language.–It’s not easy at the beginning but it becomes better– but you will see that in no time you will get used to verbs such as “share”, “like”, “cancel” or “read” that may be very useful when traveling or reading business emails!
Travel to Swahili Speaking Countries
Obviously, everybody will agree that the single best way to learn a new language –Swahili language for instance is traveling to the country where the language is spoken. Although this is certainly true, it is not enough to just book a trip to the destination if you don’t try and get to know the local culture. Moving further and further away from your comfort zone will allow you to meet new people and new cultures, discovering the authentic spirit of the language you are learning.
Watch Films and Television of Swahili language
These days, it’s extremely easy to access TV series and movies in the Swahili language, no matter where you live. I would recommend sticking to short episodes at first, in order to be able to watch scenes several times without being discouraged. First, watch without subtitles (or with English subtitles); then, switch on the subtitles for your own Swahili language and check your understanding. Take notes of idiomatic expressions or particular words that you didn’t know in your notebook.
Beware: I often hear from students things like “I should watch a cartoon, it’s for children so it must be easy!”, but keep in mind that cartoons are made for native speakers, and often use language appropriate for children, which is not necessarily easy or useful for you to learn!
Speaking of comfort zones, you should never be afraid of speaking the target language. First of all, native speakers are usually flattered to see that somebody is making an effort to make themselves understood. Secondly, as someone said: “never make fun of someone who speaks a broken English. It just means that they speak at least another language” and this is true for any language. Finally, when you can’t get your message through or cannot understand it, it just means that the communication goal has not been reached; you should still give yourself another chance, and just relax. Remember it is not necessarily due to your language level, so breathe, try again and it will definitely work out alright!