20. Swahili 101 - Colors in Swahili - Part II

Uploaded by kulmansam on 05.01.2011

Hello and welcome back to learning kiSwahili Colors in Swahili - Part 2
In this part, I will explain the origin of the words, structure and how they can be used
in a sentence.
So where do the names come from?? Most colors in Swahili are associated with
objects, which they originate from, so it is very easy to learn.
Green = kijani Jani = leaf, kijani = of leaf
Rangi ya kijani = color of leaf = green color!
Light green = kijani dhaifu [key jah nee th-uh ee foo]
Light green = kijani isio kooza [key jah nee ee see o ko oza]
Dark green = kijani ya kukooza [kijani ya koo ko oza]
Yellow = manjano [ma njaah noh] njano is possibly a Bantu word, I could not
find the meaning or it. It sounds very similar to another Bantu word
'njaro' which is added to the highest peak in Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro. Mlima = Mountain,
kilima is also a small or large mountain, it can be used for both, in this case 'large
mountain' called Njaro.
So saying Mountain Kilimanjaro is like saying "mountain mountain njaro"
Orange = machungwa [ma choon gwa] Orange just like in English comes from the
fruit Orange. The fruit Orange in swahili is Chungwa, but
when we are talking about colors, it's always in plural 'MAchungwa'.
The next 3 colors are very interesting and that is nyeupe, nyeusi and nyekundu . The
actual name for the color is
White instead of nyeupe [n yey oo pay] it is'upe'
Black instead of nyeusi [n yey oo see] it is "usi"
And Red instead of nyekundu [n yey koo n doo] it is 'kundu'
However these words, there's different suffixes to them based on how they are going to be
So instead of going through a lot of head ache tryint to explain how it is used, I will
give you a few sentences.
So you can make some sense
So for example "Gari nyeupe = car(s) white = white car(s)"
"Nyumba nyeupe = house(s) white = white house(s)"
All these are in plural. In swahili 'gari' is a car and 'magari' is 'car's'. But gari
can also be used as cars.
'nyumba' is a single house, and 'nyumba, is also plural for house.
So in this case we still use 'nyumba nyeupe', plural it comes (represented) as 'nyeupe'
Lets use 'mtu mweupe' so I'm saying a white person.
'Mtu mweusi' = a person black = a black person.
Uma mweupe = fork white = white fork
Nyuma nyeupe = forks white = white forks
Kiti cheusi = chair black = black chair
Viti vyeusi = chairs black = black chairs
Mti mwekundu = tree red = red tree
Miti myekundu = trees red = red trees
Brown = chakleti/chokleti [chak lay tee/ chock lay tee]
Chakleti of course derived from the word chocolate! So brown = chokleti. Notice how we take a
word and add 'i' to the end and it becomes swahili word!
Light Brown = Hudhurungi [hoo th-uh roo ngee] I no clue where the origin of this word is.
I do not believe it to be Arabic though it sound Arabic.
Dark Brown = Kahawia [k aha wee yah]
This comes from the word 'kahawa'. Kahawa is an Arabic word kahwa/gahwa it means coffee
Kahawa in Swahili means coffee. So kahawia is a word from black coffee
Blue/Dark Blue = buluu/bluu [boo loo oo/ b loo oo]
Light Blue = feruzi [f ay roo zee]
Of course this is also an Arabic origin word Feiruz
Sky blue/Azure = Samawati [sam ah wat tee]
This is an Arabic word also Skies (Arabic Origin = Samawat)
In swahili we just put an 'i' it becomes samawati!
Grey = Kijivujivu [key jee voo jee voo] Kijivujivu, originates from the word'majivu'
= ashes, so it is ash color!
Pink = Pinki [pin key], lo and behold! An English word, just like Blue.
Pink = Pinki, we add an 'i' to the end!
Violet/Purple = Zambarau[zam bar ah oo] Zambarau is actually a purple fruit. It's
kind of (shaped) like a large grape, purple grape, but with big seed and a little less
fluid in the meat of the fruit. Very dark in purple and if you have a Zambarau tree
you will have a lot of bats in your back yard!
Lemon green = rangi ya ndimu [run gee ya ndee moo]
Lemon is Ndimu
Silver = fedha [fey th-uh] Fedha = Arabic origin = Fedha
It's almost like saying the English word 'feather' (like in) 'bird of a feather flock together'?
So prononciation is same.
Gold = Dhahabu [th-uh huh boo] Dhahabu = Arabic origin = dhahab
Copper = shaba [shah bah] I don't know the of origin of this word, but
it's probably Arabic.
Lets now talk about how to use the colors in sentences
kijani [key jaah nee]
Joni anagari la kijani = (John has car of green) = John has a green car!
Yellow = manjano [ma njaah noh]
Ali anashati la manjano = (Ali has shirt of yellow) = Ali has a yellow shirt
Orange = chungwa [choon gwa]
Shemsa anakanzu ya rangi ya machungwa = (Shemsa has dress of color of oranges) = Shemsa has
an orange color dress.
OR Shemsa anagauni la rangi ya machungwa = (Shemsa has gown of color of oranges) =
Shemsa has an orange colored gown.
Mimi ninapenda rangi ya machungwa = (me I like color of oranges) = I like orange color
Mimi ninapenda rangi ya kahawia = (me I like color of coffee/brown) = I like coffee/dark
brown color
Rafikiyangu Franki anamacho ya buluu = (Friend mine Frank has eyes of blue) = My friend Frank
has blue eyes
Mimi ninaipenda fulanayako ya kijivujivu
Mimi ninaipenda fulanayako ya kijivujivu = (Me I like your flannel/t-shirt of gray)
= I like your gray flannel/t-shirt
With that said, we will conclude this part chapter on colors. See you in another lesson
Again, please visit 'Africaner' in facebook, where you will find the whole transcript of
this video and more.
Kwaheri, tutaonana baadae (bye see you later)