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The Language spoken in kenya

Kenya is a linguistically diverse country with multiple languages spoken throughout its various ethnic communities. The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili.

The Language spoken in kenya

1. English:

 English is widely used in official and educational settings in Kenya. It serves as the language of instruction in schools, government institutions, and business environments. English proficiency is relatively high among the population, particularly in urban areas.

2. Swahili:

 Swahili, also known as Kiswahili, is the national language of Kenya and serves as a lingua franca. It is widely spoken and understood across different ethnic groups and regions. Swahili is the primary language used in informal communication, day-to-day interactions, and media.

3. Ethnic Languages:

 Kenya is home to over 40 different ethnic groups, each with its own distinct languages or dialects. These ethnic languages play a significant role in preserving cultural heritage and are predominantly spoken within their respective communities. Some prominent ethnic languages include Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kalenjin, and Kamba, among others.

Here is a table showing a most common words in English and Kiswahili for kenya as tourist:









Thank you


You're welcome


Excuse me








Do you speak English?

Je, unaongea Kiingereza?

I don't speak Swahili

Sijui Swahili

I understand

Nina Elewa

I don't understand


How much does this cost?

Inagharimu kiasi gani?

Where is the bathroom?

Choo ni wapi?

I need help

Ninaomba msaada

I'm lost


Can you help me find my way?

Unaweza kusaidia kupata njia yangu?

Here are some common sentences that you should remember as a tourist visiting Kenya:

  • Habari gani? - How are you?
  • Nzuri, asante. Na wewe? - I'm fine, thank you. And you?
  • Ninaomba msaada. - I need help.
  • Choo ni wapi? - Where is the bathroom?
  • Naweza kupata… wapi? - Where can I find…?
  • Unaweza kusaidia kupata njia yangu? - Can you help me find my way?
  • Hii inagharimu kiasi gani? - How much does this cost?

It is also a good idea to learn some basic Swahili phrases related to food and drink, transportation, and accommodation. This will help you communicate with locals and get around. You can find many online resources that can help you learn Swahili phrases.

Here are some additional tips for tourists visiting Kenya:

  • Be respectful of Kenyan culture and customs.
  • Dress appropriately, especially when visiting religious sites.
  • Drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against petty theft.
  • Use common sense and be aware of your personal safety.

Kenya is a beautiful and safe country to visit. By following these tips, you can ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip.

This is just a small sample of the many English words that have equivalents in Kiswahili. If you are planning to visit Kenya, it is a good idea to learn some basic Swahili phrases. This will help you communicate with locals and get around. You can also find many online resources that can help you learn Swahili.

While English and Swahili are the most widely spoken languages in Kenya, many Kenyans are bilingual or even multilingual, with proficiency in their ethnic language, Swahili, and English. The linguistic diversity of Kenya reflects the country's multiculturalism and contributes to its rich cultural heritage.

Kenyans living in urban setups also have their own language, famously known as sheng (it is a slang language), apparently, nowadays sheng is not only spoken in major cities but also minor towns all over the country.

Sheng is a combination of English and Kiswahili and has some aspects of all majority ethnic groups. In Kenya sheng( lugha ya tao) is more than just slang – it’s a lifestyle, especially among youths who live in urban areas.

In fact, people living in urban areas, especially those from ghettos, speak fluent sheng compared to Kiswahili.




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