Counting in Swahili is very simple (compared to, say, French) so it is likely you can learn to count all the way up to a million in less than a day.

It’s also quite a beautiful language to count in, if I may say so myself!

Let’s start with the basics.

# How to count to ten in Swahili:

One to ten in Swahili is rather straightforward, however there are a couple of words that might look funny in written form. No need to worry – they’re actually very easy to pronounce, as explained below.

One – **Moja** (pronounced moh-jah)

Two – **Mbili** (imm-bee-lee)

Three – **Tatu** (tah-too)

Four –** Nne** (inn-neh)

Five – **Tano** (Tah-noh)

Six – **Sita** (See-tah)

Seven – **Saba** (sah-bah)

Eight – **Nane** (nah-neh)

Nine – **Tisa** (tee-sah)

Ten – **Kumi** (koo-mee)

# How to count to twenty in Swahili:

Eleven through to twenty is extremely simple, and if you can count to ten, you can use all the same words to count up to nineteen.

The basic structure is to simply say “ten and…”, so for example, eleven will be “ten and one”, twelve will be “ten and two” and so on. It really can’t get any simpler than that!

Eleven – *Kumi na moja*

Twelve – **Kumi na mbili**

Thirteen – **Kumi na tatu**

Fourteen – *Kumi na nne*

Fifteen – *Kumi na tano*

Sixteen – *Kumi na sita*

Seventeen – *Kumi na saba*

Eighteen – *Kumi na nane*

Nineteen – *Kumi na tisa*

# How to count to one hundred in Swahili:

Counting to one hundred is almost as easy as counting to twenty.

The structure is exactly the same – “twenty and one”, “twenty and two” and so on.

However, you will need to learn new words for twenty, thirty, forty, and so forth.

Here’s how it goes:

Twenty –** Ishirini** (pronounced

*ee-shee-ree-nee*)

Twenty one –* Ishirini na moja* (literally “twenty and one”)

Twenty two – ** Ishrini na mbili** (literally “twenty and two”)

and so on…

The same structure is applied to all the numbers from thirty up to ninety-nine.

Thirty – **Thelathini** (pronounced theh – lah – thee- nee)

Forty – **Arobaini** (uh-row-buh-ee-nee)

Fifty – **Hamsini** (hum-see-nee)

Sixty – **Sitini** (see-tee-nee)

Seventy – **Sabini** (sah-bee-nee)

Eighty – **Themanini** *(theh-mah-nee-nee) *

Ninety – **Tisini** (tee-see-nee)

# How to count to one thousand in Swahili:

Counting through the hundreds up to one thousand is done by using the word * mia (pronounced mee-ah)*, which means

*hundred*. Like so:

One hundred –**Mia moja **

Two hundred – **Mia mbili**

Three hundred – **Mia tatu**

Four hundred – **Mia nne**

Five hundred – **Mia tano**

Six hundred – **Mia sita**

Seven hundred – **Mia saba**

Eight hundred – **Mia nane**

Nine hundred – **Mia tisa**

Also note, to add on numbers in the tens and ones, you are not required to use the word *na*.

For example, to say one hundred and fifty, you do not need to say mia moja *na* hamsini.

You simply say *mia moja hamsini*.

To say one hundred and ninety nine, you simply say *mia moja tisini na tisa*.

The na conjunction is **only** used between the tens and ones.

# How to count in the thousands in Swahili:

The swahili word for thousand is ** elfu** (pronounced

*ell-foo)*.

Counting with thousands is exactly the same as counting with hundreds.

One thousand – **Elfu moja**

Two thousand – **Elfu mbili**

Three thousand – **Elfu tatu**

Four thousand – **Elfu nne**

Five thousand – **Elfu tano**

Six thousand – **Elfu sita**

Seven thousand – **Elfu saba**

Eight thousand – **Elfu nane**

Nine thousand – **Elfu tisa**

Again, to add on numbers in the hundreds, tens and ones, the word *na* is not required.

To say two thousand two hundred and fifty, you do *not* need to say Elfu mbili *na* mia mbili *na* hamsini.

You simply say, **Elfu mbili mia mbili hamsini.**

## Ten thousands in Swahili

The ten thousands also use the word *elfu*. For example:

Ten thousand – *Elfu kumi*

Fifty thousand – *Elfu hamsini*

Ninety thousand – *Elfu tisini*

# How to count to one million in Swahili:

To get to a million we need to use the word *laki* (pronounced just like the English word “lucky”) which means *hundred thousand*. For example:

One hundred thousand – **Laki moja**

Two hundred thousand – **Laki mbili**

and so on…

As an example, to say two hundred and twenty two thousand, two hundred and two, you would say:

**Laki mbili, elfu ishirini na mbili, mia mbili ishirini na mbili.**

**Laki mbili** (two hundred thousand), **elfu ishirini na mbili** (twenty two thousand),** mia mbili** (two hundred), **ishirini na mbili** (twenty two).

# One million!

Finally the word for a million is** milioni.**

Again, this is used in the same way as the other counter words.

One million – **Milioni moja**

Two million – **Milioni mbili**

and so on…

Happy counting!

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