Language Centre

Swahili Elementary Course

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Key information

1 term per sub-level; 10 weeks per term
Attendance mode
Part-time, online/blended learning

Course overview

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. This course is delivered by the Language Centre


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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

Please note, that each term, courses are subject to quorum requirements.

For course dates and information, please see our timetables


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.

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Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules

See more information on the Language Centre Swahili homepage

Related information

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