Swahili Listening Resources



  1. LangMedia LangMedia | Five College Center for World Languages (fivecolleges.edu)

2. Ling App Ling – The best way to learn Swahili (ling-app.com)

3. McGrath, D., & Marten, L. (2005). Colloquial Swahili: The Complete Course for Beginners. Routledge: New York

4. Mentors and language partners

5. Swahili Fairy Tales – YouTube

6. Swahiliwood – YouTube

7. Learn Swahili with SwahiliPod101.com – YouTube



Listening Practice Strategies

The first step is getting the resources especially the online resources that are in themselves interactive. For example, using language learning apps like Ling helps to progress from focusing on words and phrases to sentences and short dialogues. Using the interactive techniques of seeing the written form together with the pronunciation, identifying speech and producing same helps learners’ comprehension of the changes these words undergo in connected speech. For example, I started with duka and kahawa,  progressed to duka la kahawa and kikombe cha kahawa, then moved to kikombe saizi ya kati cha kahawa.

The second strategy is repeating what is heard after the speaker. It could chunks or sentences where we can then make notes and use them at random times. For example, one can notice an expression(s) that a mentor/language learning Youtuber or Tic Toker loves to use. Learning such short expressions especially as a beginner can be very useful. These words or expression could be cues to understanding larger utterances.

Another strategy is listening to different voices speaking at different speech pace. The Ling App provides the option to listen to a regular pace and a slower one which are both helpful depending on the length and the complexity of the sounds of the expressions being listened to. It is best to practice listening wit speakers using regular speech pace. I particularly find Swahili Fairy Tales interesting because the voice actors are theatrical.

Watching longer videos or listening to a playlist of Swahili songs even passively familiarizes me with the sounds of the language. I do not always pay rapt attention to the number of new words learned or the construction of words while listening to songs or watching longer videos. In these situations, I can pick out what makes sense to me, and some unknown expressions can randomly jump out probably because they are used repeatedly or because of an action that took place while it is used. Paying attention to these cues is an important comprehension strategy.

I have also found that listening to my voice through my recordings helps to get familiar with the sounds at a different level.  This helps with not just speaking but with comprehension.