Refresh Your Swahili with Free Swahili Dictionaries

Swahili is one sweet language. As much as I exclusively write here in English, truth of the matter is that I tend to and even prefer to speak in Swahili. Over the years I’ve found English is good for formal contexts though for some reason my mind prefers to reason in English and talk in Swahili. Call it what you will, but I think that’s the way the Kenyan Education System has wired us.

For instance, when was the last time you wrote something in Swahili, and I mean fluent Swahili not that mishmash we call swanglish. I’m guessing a very long time ago.

On the flipside, talking fluent Swahili, that is “Swahili Sanifu“, can itself be problematic for some, though I’ve come to find out that a visit to the coast does miracles to remedying that end.

The more effective healer however I believe is just doing some good old reading or writing if you feel inspired. Try it one of this fine days, and you might be surprised to find out that the damage your Swahili has sustained over the years is nothing close to what the 7PM Swahili bulletin suggests.

Now, if you’re willing to tread this path of rediscovery or you’re learning the language for the first time, then there’s one thing you need more than anything: a dictionary or “Kamusi” if you like.

I will assume you’ve long since relieved yourself, or for that case been relieved, of your precious copy by entrepreneurial high schoolers, book hungry siblings or cathartic bonfires. Whichever the case, I have compiled a list of free online and offline Swahili dictionaries that are sure to match up to your current digital infestation.

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Kelvin Muriuki is the editor of Kenyan Fix and founder of Journey Bytes, a tech blog and web design agency that seeks to help individuals and businesses grow their online presence through affordable and user-friendly websites.

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