Everything You Need To Learn Kinyarwanda
Kinyarwanda is a Bantu language spoken by 12 million people, most of whom live in Rwanda, East Africa, where it is the official language. There are also small communities of speakers in neighboring Uganda, Burundi and Congo.
Kinyarwanda is related to other Bantu languages like Kiswahili and Chichewa, but it is not mutually intelligible with them. It is, however, mutually intelligible with the Kirundi language of Burundi.
Due to a multitude of very long words, Kinyarwanda is often regarded as a tough language for English speakers to learn. (For an idea of what it’s like to learn Kinyarwanda, check out this one-day language learning challenge.)
Unlike Swahili, Kinyarwanda remains a relatively obscure language, which means there aren’t many learning materials available for English speakers. We’ve put together a list of those we could find, and we hope that you find them useful.
Kinyarwanda Language Learning Books
A great way to get acquainted with how the language works is by getting a good Kinyarwanda dictionary and phrasebook. These books will help you learn all the essential vocabulary and phrases, while also giving you an insight into Kinyarwanda sentence structure.
Kinyarwanda Children’s Books
Reading Kinyarwanda children’s books will help you familiarize yourself with the language, while also teaching you new, common words.
Kinyarwanda-language books for kids are great for beginners because they’re usually written in simple language and accompanied by pictures, all of which make retaining what you learn easier.
Some of the Kinyarwanda kids’ books on this list are also bilingual English-Kinyarwanda with dual language text, which makes reading smoother, as you don’t have to constantly refer to a dictionary when you encounter a word you don’t understand.
In order to progress and expand your Kinyarwanda vocabulary, you’ll want to eventually move on from reading children’s books. That’s where Kinyarwanda adult books come in handy.
These books are written for older readers, and thus the language is advanced and challenging, and the topics reflect a fuller range of human experience. This makes the stories more relatable and thus more memorable.
Kinyarwanda Movies & TV Shows
It’s always a good idea to watch as much Kinyarwanda-language content as you can, in order to get a more complete, immersive experience of the language.
You can learn common Kinyarwanda idioms and phrases, pick up on the local accent and pronunciation, all while being entertained by movies or shows in your target language.