Language Centre

Swahili Beginners 1 Online - semi-intensive course August 2024

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Key information

6 August - 5 September 2024
Attendance mode
Part-time, online/blended learning

Course overview

This 5 week course is aimed at complete beginners and introduces basic grammatical forms, essential frequent vocabulary and key aspects of pronunciation. 

You will have opportunities to practise communicating in Swahili on daily topics (see course content), listen for the gist of a short conversation, write about basic information (email, text message, postcard) and read short texts. This course is delivered by the Language Centre.

Swahili Beginners 1 Online Semi-Intensive (43578) August 2024 timetable:

Tuesday6 August7pm - 8:30pm
Thursday8 August7pm - 8:30pm
Tuesday13 August7pm - 8:30pm
Thursday15 August7pm - 8:30pm
Tuesday20 August7pm - 8:30pm
Thursday22 August7pm - 8:30pm
Tuesday27 August7pm - 8:30pm
Thursday29 August7pm - 8:30pm
Tuesday3 September7pm - 8:30pm
Thursday5 September7pm - 8:30pm


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 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. The textbook is not included in the fee but can be purchased from the tutor (Donovan Lee Mcgrath, author) with 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

We strongly recommend waiting until your course is confirmed before purchasing the textbook.


  • £299

Please see our course fees for full information and discounts available.


Swahili Beginners 1

By the end of the course you should be able to

  • spell out words
  • greet people
  • initiate a conversation
  • use numbers
  • say your nationality
  • talk about jobs
  • talk about your family
  • ask and give personal information

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.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules

Terms and conditions

Before applying, please be sure that you have read the SOAS Language Centre terms and conditions

How to apply

This Swahili Beginners 1 course is aimed at complete beginners, no prior language knowledge is required. 

Please note that places are first come first served. Enrolments are taken until the course is fully booked, or up to midnight 23 July, whichever is soonest.

Continuing your study

This semi-intensive Swahili Beginners 1 course is equivalent to the 10 week Swahili Beginners 1 course Students who complete this may be able to join a Beginners 2 for our next term starting October 2024, or a future term at SOAS Language Centre.

Related information

Image Credit: Photos By Beks via Unsplash