SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Swahili Elementary Course

Duration: 10 weeks per term, 20 hours blended learning. Each term courses are subject to quorum requirements.

  • Overview
  • Structure


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Mode of Attendance: Part-time

Fees: Course fees quoted are per term of 10 weeks.

Course Aim

This course builds upon the basic communicative skills acquired in the Swahili Beginners course with special attention given to aural comprehension of recorded texts, which vary from simple dialogues to a recorded play. You will be introduced to texts on an intermediate level (newspaper articles, Internet news items, short stories, proverbs and poetry) as illustrations of Swahili literature. Throughout the course the basic grammatical knowledge introduced in Swahili Beginners will be extended with particular reference to morphology and word construction.


The course is taught in Swahili and English with emphasis on speaking and listening using the taught language. There will also be some reading (translation) and writing (composing) with guided practice in language usage and use of authentic communicative activities. You are expected to attend regularly, participate in class and complete homework regularly to ensure learning progress. You will receive regular feedback from your tutor.

This will be achieved through 20 hours of blended learning: this is composed of 15 hours of online structured lessons with the teacher. This is supplemented by a minimum of 5 hours of guided independent learning supported by complementary material and regular feedback from the tutor. The course objective will be achieved within the 10-week course.


This course will be based on the textbook:

Colloquial Swahili (2nd Edition) by Donovan McGrath and Lutz Marten (2012/2015), Routledge, London/New York.

Order through your tutor and receive a 30% discount. (only applicable for on campus courses, not online)

You can order the book and download the audio free directly at the Routledge website: https://routledgetextbooks. com/textbooks/colloquial/ language/swahili.php

Online Course Requirements

Please ensure you have checked the Learner Support page.

Entry Requirements and Progression Route

This course is aimed at students who have completed the full Beginners Course or equivalent (approx 60 hours of formal study). After completing Elementary 1, students progress onto Elementary 2, and then Elementary 3. After this, students can begin the Pre-Intermediate level.

To see if this course is scheduled for the next term. please see our timetable for more information:

Related Information

See more information on the Swahili language and courses in Swahili offered at SOAS Language Centre on the Swahili Language Homepage.

Back to the Language Centre Homepage


Swahili Elementary 1 
  • read article newspapers and discuss topics of interest
  • make a presentation on a topic of interest
  • translate a variety of texts
  • extending an invitation
  • putting one’s point across
  • to reason hypothetically
  • structure arguments by using a variety of vocab
  • talk about conditions
Swahili Elementary 2
  • Tell a story 
  • Read newspaper headlines 
  • Refer to manner and time
  • Make phone calls
  • Write letters
  • show interest in the person/object that experiences an action
  • express potentiality 
  • express a variety of concepts 
  • Analyse of the lyrics of a song
Swahili Elementary 3
  • be familiar with the dialects of Swahili
  • use shortened forms for describing someone or something
  • use shortened forms of saying that you are doing something
  • naming words derived from doing words
  • express largeness and greater intensity
  • express smallness
  • intensify a doing word by repetition
  • convey the meaning of opposite, intensification, persistence

The above is an indication of content that may be covered over the duration of the course but it could vary depending on the level and progress of students in the class.