Unit 1: Conversations

Talking about religion

Proficiency Objectives

  • participate in conversations on a wide variety of topics that go beyond your everyday life.
  • communicate effectively on a wide variety of present, past, and future events.
  • exchange general information on topics outside your fields of interest.

Content Objectives

  • participate in conversations about your own and others’ religious beliefs, using appropriate Swahili vocabulary.
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Pricilla Anbut (left) with Dr. George Mukundi Wachira (center) and Njeri Karuru (right) in conversation

Exercises for classroom learners

Exercise 1

In pairs or small groups, talk about your religious beliefs and practices. What led you to these beliefs? How do your beliefs affect your everyday life? What do you believe happens when you die? Do you have any beliefs or practices in common? Are there words or concepts that your conversation partners use that are new you?

Exercise 2

Select a religion other than your own (or your teacher will assign one) and do some brief research about its basic tenets (e.g. using Wikipedia). For example, what do practictioners of this religion believe? Are their different branches/sects/denominations? Where and when do they worship? What holidays to they celebrate? Look up any words you will need to know in Swahili in order to explain what you learned. In class, you will take part in a role play where you pretend to be a practitioner in the religion you selected or were assigned. Your classmates will ask you about your beliefs and guess which religion you are describing.

Exercises for independent learners

Exercise 1

Either in an appropriate online Swahili space such as the Dini/Imani forum of Jamii Forums, or with a Swahili-speaking conversation partner, start a discussion about others’ religious beliefs and practices. What led them to these beliefs? How do their beliefs affect their everyday lives? What do they believe happens when you die? Do you have any beliefs or practices in common? Are there words or concepts that your conversation partners use that are new to you you? Ask about them and/or take note of them to look up later and add to your vocabulary notebook.

Exercise 2

Imagine you are planning a trip to a particular city in East Africa and you would like to visit a church, a mosque, and a Hindu temple. Either in an appropriate online Swahili space such as the Dini/Imani forum of Jamii Forums, or with a Swahili-speaking conversation partner, find out where one of each of these religious spaces is, how to get there, and whether or not it would be appropriate for you to visit.

Exercise 3

Do some research to find out if there are Swahili speakers in your community. Some areas with large East African immigrant populations, such as Minneapolis, have Swahili church services. If possible, attend a service and have a conversation with at least one congregant.

Permissions and credits

License

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Dini Afrika ya Mashariki by Katrina Daly Thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.