Introduction to Swahili Certificate

Why study Swahili?

Swahili, or Kiswahili as it is known when one is speaking the language, is the most widely studied indigenous language of Africa. It is the national and official language of Kenya and Tanzania, the lingua franca of over 50 million people in eastern and central Africa, and it is also used in other parts of the world.


  • Format: Online

    Hours: 84 / 8.4 CEUs per course

    When: Open Enrollment

    Cost: $499 per course

Swahili is taught in academic institutions from Japan in the east to Mexico in the west. It can be used to fulfill language requirements* and is essential in preparing researchers for field work in linguistics, anthropology, archeology and geology. Knowledge of Swahili serves as a good introduction to general African culture, has an exciting and remarkable history and a long written tradition, and enhances a researcher's credibility on East African issues.

*For information on how to receive academic/college credit for successfully completing this course, please contact the course author and instructor, Dr. Lioba Moshi, at moshi [at] uga [dot] edu prior to registering.

Introduction to Swahili 1, the first part of the introductory course, is designed to:

  1. enable students to develop communicative skills in Swahili through listening, speaking, reading, and writing
  2. give insights into aspects of the language, culture, traditions, and customs of the speakers of Swahili

You will learn: 

  • the history, culture, and geographical location of the Swahili peoples
  • the Swahili alphabet and sound patterns
  • basic conversation structures: greetings, introducing oneself, how to start a conversation, cultural information, and social codes in conversations
  • basic parts of speech: noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, etc.
  • sentence structure (focusing on grammar to build simple and complex sentences)
  • voice: active and passive, causative, reflexives (these will be introduced with reference to verbs, without changing the basic meaning of the sentence)

Introduction to Swahili 2, the second part of the introductory course, is designed to:

  1. build on the skills and knowledge you acquired in Swahili 1
  2. strengthen your communicative skills through listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities
  3. develop your understanding of the culture, traditions, and customs of the speakers of Swahili.

During this phase, you will:

  • focus on strengthening conversation skills
  • learn new aspects of the basic parts of speech: noun, pronoun,verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, etc.
  • review aspects of sentence structure by working with more complex sentences and by reviewing aspects of voice: active and passive, verb extensions such as the applied suffix (and their association with object markers), the causative marker, and the reflexives.

Course Information

Course Date Info: 

Introduction to Swahili 1 – Register Now

Introduction to Swahili 2 – Register Now*

  • Enroll at any time
  • Complete the course's required graded components within 4 months 

*In order to register for Introduction to Swahili 2 you must first successfully complete Introduction to Swahili 1 or gain prior approval to exempt.

Course Format: 
Course Fee(s): 

$499 per course

Continuing Education Information: 

84 Hours/8.4 CEU's per course
Definition of CEU

Dr. Lioba MoshiDr. Lioba Moshi, a tenured professor at UGA, was born and raised in Tanzania on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. She received her B.A. with a specialization in teacher education in Tanzania at the University of Dar es Salaam (1973) and an M.A. in linguistics at the same institution in 1977. In 1978 she left Tanzania to study in England, intending to get a Ph.D. at York University. Instead, she decided to graduate in 1981 with a Master of Philosophy degree, in order to go to UCLA, where she received a fellowship to pursue her Ph.D. in linguistics. She received her Ph.D. in 1985 and was hired by Stanford University, where she taught language in the Linguistics Department. She left Stanford for UGA in 1988. A Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature, Dr. Moshi teaches both language and linguistics courses and directs the teaching of African languages. She is also the director of the African Languages Program and oversees study abroad programs in Tanzania.

A linguist and language pedagogist by training, Dr. Moshi has published extensively in this area including textbooks, teaching guides, online materials as well as scholarly articles and books. Moshi has also won numerous awards from scholarly and community organizations. In 2007 she was named a University Professor at the University of Georgia in recognition of her contribution to university service and the study of Africa.

Dr. Moshi's non-academic interests include gardening, traveling, and reading African fiction in English and Swahili. 

  • McGrath, Donovan, and Lutz Marlen. Colloquial Swahili: The Complete Course for Beginners. Routledge, 2003. It is packaged together with an audio program. ISBN 0-415-22163-3
  • Awde, Nicholas. Swahili-English/English-Swahili Dictionary. Hippocrene Books, 2000.