SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa

Swahili 1

Module Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Full Year



Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate:

  1. knowledge and understanding of basic Swahili grammar
  2. knowledge and understanding of essential Swahili vocabulary
  3. knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic Swahili structures and expressions in a given context
  4. the ability to understand short passages in written Swahili on everyday topics
  5. the ability to produce short passages in written Swahili on everyday topics
  6. the ability to understand spoken Swahili and to engage in short spoken discourse on everyday topics


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 5 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

In this course for beginners the four elements of basic language learning will be given equal attention: speaking, listening, reading (translation) and writing (composing). The course focuses both on practical usage and acquisition of basic grammar. Out of 5hpw, one hour will be a language lab class, and one hour will be devoted solely to conversation. Explanation and practice of spoken Swahili in class aims at building the student’s vocabulary (about 1,200 words) and sentence structures (grammar) to basic survival knowledge of the language in its cultural context. Ability to use the dictionary and reflect upon the language itself are parallel aims.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination (60%), an oral/aural exam (20%) taken in May/June, and Assignments (2 quizzes) 20%.

Suggested reading

The reading list for this course will be made available from the convenor at the beginning of the course.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules