Kiswahili Proverbs


Find below ten advanced level Kiswahili lessons, each linked to a Kiswahili proverb. For each proverb, there is a video containing an improvised skit intended to reflect the meaning of the proverb. Along with the video is a word-for-word transcription of the skit, a glossary for difficult words or phrases, and a set of exercises aimed at determining a student’s comprehension of the skit.

Each lesson addresses the four language skills based upon ACTFL guidelines (speaking, writing, listening and reading) while also capturing key cultural and social realities of language use in its native context. In addition, each skit reflects the varieties of the language spoken in urban and rural areas, and between the elderly, adults and children. Unlike top-down models of language instruction, the African Proverbs Project uses a bottom-up approach designed to equip advanced learners with the ability to shift between several dialects. Moreover, the Proverbs Project provides learners with the necessary cultural and kinesic competencies to converse fluently and see the world through the eyes of native-speakers.

Kiswahili Proverbs

1. “Subira yavuta heri”

2. “Chovya chovya”

3. “Kuuliza si ujinga”

4. “Mchagua jembe”

5. “Mtoto wa nyoka ni nyoka”

6. “Penye wazee”

7. “Umthaniaye ndiye kumbe siyo”

8. “Ibilisi wa mtu ni mtu”

9. “Asiyekia la Mkuu Huvunyika Guu”

10. “Mtoto umleavyo”

Project Participants