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A Passel of Swahili Books


  10:47:46 pm, by Nimble   , 333 words  
Categories: Reviews, Books

A Passel of Swahili Books

Colloquial Swahili

What this book has going for it are a number of natural conversations, some good attention-gettings ("Hebu!") and the likes of how to invite people and turn down invitations, and some pretty clear grammar sections.

What's frustrating about this book (as with many language books) is that you practically need a Swahili-English dictionary to use it. Many words are missing from the vocabulary and end-of-the-book dictionary sections.

Simplified Swahili

This book is a crash course in the grammar and vocabulary. It's actually quite well put together, and every section explains in good, but not stuffy, detail the rules of Swahili and good rules of thumb that you might not notice otherwise.

It's pretty intense, though, and there's not a lot in the way of conversations in the book. An excellent companion for other resources.

Swahili Basic Course

This was the oddest of the lot, but not in a bad way. For those who've ever seen Foreign Service Institute books before, this will seem very familiar. The entire book is authored on a typewriter, or at least daisy-wheel printer. The quality of reproduction is not stellar, but it is readable.

What's particularly interesting about this book is the content. The book is big, for one, although not intensely dense. Each chapter (there are 150, though each chapter is 1-5 pages) begins with a fairly natural conversation. You get a few good grammar rules in each section. Then comes the good part. Due to the size of the book, they have fit in lots of substitution examples. Lots of "here's what the sentence looks like with different..." and they show you how the sentences change if you substitute other words, other people, other tenses. This is really, really helpful when trying to learn.

I didn't get the audio for this book. The audio is expensive, though now I'm regretting not getting it. To understand a Swahili speaker, I may have to ask them to write it down (Tafadhali uniandikie!) just so I can recognize it!

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