Learn some of the indigenous and beautiful languages that Kenyans speak

Kikuyu Language - Introduction

The official languages in Kenya are English and Swahili (Kiswahili). However, if you travel the rural streets and the beautiful countryside, it is likely you will hear the people of Kenya speaking their local tribal tongue and not the official language of their country. After all, they would have been speaking their local tongue since birth and 75% or more of their daily communication would be with locals in their native tongue. So, although English and Swahili are taught in all of the schools from a young age, it is not predominant, and often somewhat of a challenge for everyday chat.

So if you want to mesh with the locals, you will likely want to learn their language - or at least enough to be polite and make your way through average daily activities.

Kikuyu is one of the tribal languages in Kenya. This would more properly translate to “The language of Kuyu”. One of the features of Kikuyu is that they merge words and prefixes/suffixes together to create conglomerate words that have a ‘combined’ meaning. Much like the term “Kikuyu” itself

A Spoken Language

Kikuyu is primarily a spoke language. The various written versions of the words are intended to help sound out the spoken language, but as with any language cannot form the exact sound that the locals will consider “proper” dialect. It is also likely that various regions may have variations in pronunciation and spelling. But don’t give up hope. Fortunately, the language is not too difficult to read and learn. So with a little effort and some friendly locals to help, you are sure to pick it up.

You may often find different persons write or spell Kikuyu words differently. Again, it is a primarily spoken language and there may not be an official spelling for each term or word-conglomerate… or if there is an official spelling, it might not be widely taught/propagated since the focus in schools is to learn Kiswahili and English.

When learning Kikuyu - spend more time listening to and learning the way they form the words verbally than what may be written on a piece of paper.

Kikuyu Vocabulary

Kikuyu Phrases