SOAS University of London

Africa Section, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Swahili 1 (PG)

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year

PLEASE NOTE: This module will be divided into two 15-credit modules next academic year (i.e Language A and Language B). The overall objectives and outcomes for the year will not change. There may be some slight changes to the formal assessment. Students will be required to take a written test in the last week of Term 1 and should therefore not plan to be absent from SOAS at this time.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  1. knowledge and understanding of basic Swahili grammar
  2. basic level ability of reading and writing skills, and some spoken fluency
  3. ability to understand short passages in written Swahili on everyday topics – written or spoken dialogue
  4. knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Swahili in particular, in language-based scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students)


A total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 2 hour lecture, one hour tutorial and 1 hour language laboratory session.

Scope and syllabus

In this module for beginners the four elements of basic language learning are given equal attention: speaking, listening, reading (translation) and writing (composing). It focuses both on practical usage and acquisition of basic grammar.  The module aims to build the student’s vocabulary to about 1,000 words, an understanding of sentence structure (grammar) to provide basic survival knowledge of the language in its cultural context. The ability to use a dictionary and reflect upon the language itself is a parallel aim.

Additionally, students will receive a series of special lectures structured around six themes: Structure, Texts, Identity, Society, Translation and Transformation provided for PG students studying different languages to introduce them to language-based scholarship and research. The aim is to provide them with the critical and methodological skills necessary to relate their acquired Swahili to thematic aspects of their studies

Method of assessment

One three-hour written paper taken in May/June (40%); additional translation portfolio of a variety of text types to be submitted on day 5, week 1, term 3 (30%) aural and quiz assessments (20%); one 15 minute oral examination (10%).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules