Wörterbuch Swahili-Deutsch / Deutsch-Swahili

Wörterbuch Swahili-Deutsch / Deutsch-Swahili

ISBN 978-3-89645-197-2

Wörterbuch Swahili-Deutsch / Deutsch-Swahili

Author: Hildegard Höftmann †, Irmtraud Herms, Karsten Legère.

667 pp.
2 volumes including 667 pages (400 pages and 267 pages)
€ 49.80

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First volume: Dictionary Swahili-Deutsch, 2nd, completely revised and updated edition 2010 (Authors: Hildegard Höftmann and Irmtraud Herms)

Swahili is one of the few African languages that has spread remarkably far beyond its language area of origin – the East African coastal region and its hinterland. Today Swahili – besides Hausa – can be termed the most important African language of sub-Saharan Africa. It is spoken by more than 90 million people either as mother tongue or second language.
Since 1967, Swahili is the national language of Tanzania and since 1974 as well of Kenya. In the adjacent states it has emerged as a supranational lingua franca. The dispersion into areas where – apart from other Bantu languages – English and French play a role by nature hampered the standardization of Swahili. Particularly the lexis is subject to constant changes; new words are formed, loan words are adopted, others are modified in content and still others are gradually superseded from communication.

The basic vocabulary of the present dictionary is based on the correspondent edition of 1989 (VEB Enzyklopädie Leipzig, after that until 2005 Langenscheidt Munich). It has been revised with the objective of extending the lexis and its use in phrases, thereby taking into account changes as well as eliminating now rarely or no longer used lexemes.
Altogether this dictionary has been supplemented by approximately 2,000 new headwords and about 3,000 additional phrases. Sources for the extension of the lexis were recent dictionaries, word lists and data from state-run Swahili-institutions, modern Swahili texts (fiction, school material, newspapers, journals) as well as spoken texts from radio programmes in Tanzania.

The dictionary was conceived of as to facilitate the location of lexemes by listing derivations of primary words with their specific meanings as headwords now. Likewise, predominantly used plural forms are given as separate headwords.


Second volume: Dictionary Deutsch-Swahili, completely revised and updated edition 2006 (Author: Karsten Legère)

The present dictionary is based upon a vocabulary worked out by the Enzyklopädie Publishing House Leipzig / Germany. It contains about 15,000 keywords from the domains every day life, politics, economy, culture, and sports as well as a plenitude of phrases and idiomatic proverbs. This vocabulary was supplemented by terms which follow form the natural environmental conditions of the target language.

This dictionary is the first modern publication in the German-speaking region and beyond it. Comparable works are either antiquated or suitable to only a limited extend because of their marginal scale. The basis of a number of the German keywords are pertinent loan translations and transferences, just as they are bruited about in Swahili-speaking material. Own translation variations are not marked, since there is no difference to the usual practised approach of renditions of terms of non-african origin.

The handling of German keywords, which are unknown and whose images have no direct (Swahili) equivalent in the East-African region (cowboy, luge, polar bear, snowboard), caused difficulties. Such keywords belong for example to the European fauna and flora or to winter sports. In such cases it was tried to find a comparable image and its denotation in Swahili, complemented by the corresponding English term.

The number of users of the present dictionary is due to the great relevance of the Swahili language in the whole East- and Central-African region. Thus, the work is applicable for German-speaking people living and/or working in Swahili-speaking areas as well as for Swahili-speaking persons staying in German-speaking countries.

The Wörterbuch Swahili-Deutsch has appeared in the 3rd, completely revised and enlarged edition.

Both parts can be ordered separately, see the links below. Under pdf documents you can download a couple of example pages of both dictionaries:

Accompanying material:


PDF documents:

PDFDictionary German-Swahili Example Au-Bel(≈ 2 MB)
PDFDictionary Swahili-German Example Pa-Pen(≈ 82 kB)
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