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Swahili (Lonely Planet Phrasebooks) 4th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1741047059
ISBN-10: 1741047056
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lonely Planet Phrasebooks. Portable, pocket-size, cheap, and available for almost any country you might want to visit..." (National Geographic Traveler)

About the Author

LONELY PLANET aims to cater for every independent traveller, whatever the destination, whatever the style of travel and whatever the phase of the journey.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 4 edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741047056
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741047059
  • Product Dimensions: 3.7 x 0.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There just aren't that many swahili dictionaries or phrasebooks out there, and this one turns out to be useful too. Its small size makes it easy to take everywhere and the sections give travelers a good feel for the language without being too overwhelmed by swahili's many noun classes. I would recommend it more as a reference than as a stand-alone teaching tool, but the english-swahili, swahili-english dictonary is comprehensive and useful for travelers with all degrees of Kiswahili fluency. My copy has turned somewhat brown from all the dust, but the book has held up well. I would hate to be stuck in East Africa without it.
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Format: Paperback
I have purchased a few different materials to try to learn the Swahili language. The was by far the best value. It is full of useful information, and unlike the others that I purchased, actually teaches you how to build sentences, and not just ask where the train station is. If you purchase this along with some tapes, you will learn the language much faster.
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Format: Paperback
It may not be the only book you'll need to grasp the concepts of the Swahili language, but it is definitely a must-have supplement. Covering a wide variety of topics, this inexpensive little book holds a lot of information. Grammar and pronounciation tips throughout the book help you to build confidence and understanding when putting those hundreds of new vocabulary words to use. Different scenerios are broken down into appropriate chapters, making words for every situation easy to find. And to top it off, reinforcing crossword puzzles and a two-way dictionary at the back of the book. Excellent!
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Format: Paperback
What's not to like? The compact size makes it easy to pack and tote on your trip to East Africa. It works great as a pre-trip study resource for the language - and equally well if you never open it until you are in a market in Tanzania and want to know "bei gani?" ("how much?") The book is organized in a way that makes sense - you can go to the section on shopping and find, not just a list of vocabulary words, but lots and lots of phrases to cover all kinds of situations. (If you have ever had to look up what you want to say word by word in a language guide, you will appreciate the value of this feature.) Like all Lonely Planet publications, it is written with a sense of attitude and energy - not dry like many language guides. My (Ki)Swahili is pretty good at this point - but I still pack this book whenever I go to East Africa.
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Format: Paperback
The highlights of this book is that it contains not only the dictionaries and useful phrases but also good explanation of grammar which makes understanding easier. Can't learn a language without grammar. They also try not to complicate by teaching "survival Swahili".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had this guide when I went to Kenya, and I highly recommend it! It was very useful when I got very ill and needed to explain to a Swahili speaking doctor what was wrong with me. I also used it when I'd go to the Masai Markets and I always got a much better deal when I'd barter in Swahili. The Kenyans can speak English, but they appreciate it when you try to speak to them in Swahili.

I loved this guide so much I am buying copies for the members of my family who will be joining me for a holiday in Kenya this coming year.

It's an absolute must for any traveler!
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Format: Paperback
There are many things in life I don't understand.

This is one of them.

On page 11, it says:
"There are no diphthongs in Swahili (i.e. vowel sound combinations, like in English 'day'.)"

Then, in chart below (paraphrasing), book instructs:
"Symbol 'ay' will be pronounced like 'may,' so 'wewe' will be pronounced 'wayway.'"

BUT WAIT, you just said there were NO DIPHTHONGS as in "day."

Now you're going to have us pronounce EVERY "E" as an incorrect DIPHTHONG?

("Wewe" is pronounced like "e" in English "leg." It rhymes with "heh heh," not "hey-hey". Why? Because it's not a diphthong!)

This might not be a big deal, except every time I read, I now have to "auto-correct" myself for the book's mistake ("ay" is pronounced "e" as in "leg"), every time.

And readers who don't catch the book's error will be pronouncing with an unmistakable accent.

Seems like someone there just turned off their thinking cap for a moment, and steered the whole book in a decidedly less useful direction.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very helpful and very effective phrase book. It helps greatly that Swahili is a phonetic language, but the phrases available are all very helpful. Luckily, I was able to stick to the "Where is the nearest restaurant?" sections and I never had deviate into the "I am an American citizen/I wish to speak to the American Consulate" portions of the book.
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