How to say what is that? in Swahili: nini hiyo

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How to say what is that? in Swahili: nini hiyo

Learning Swahili for travel or study? Let’s try this term:

To say what is that? in Swahili: nini hiyo
Say it out loud: “nee nee hee yo

You can learn how to say what is that? and over 220 other travel-friendly words and phrases with our inexpensive, easy-to-use Swahili language cheat sheets. We can help you make your next trip to another country even more fun and immersive. Click below!

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Some more helpful words in our Swahili Courtesy/Questions category:

...the bathroom – choo  (chōh)
come with me – kuangalia tu  (koo ah nn gah lee ah too)
do you speak english? – Kiingereza?  (kin geh reh zah)
excellent – bora  (boh rah)
excuse me – kumradhi  (koom rah dhee)
excuse me (to get past) – nipishe  (nee pee sheh)
good / bad – nzuri / mbaya  (n zoo' ree / mm by' uh)
how do you say…? – jinsi ya kusema?  (jeen see ya koo say muh?)
how much is this? – bei gani  (bay ee gah nee)
may I? (point at chair, door) – naweza  (na weh za)
maybe – pengine  (pen gee' nay)
no problem – hakuna matata  (ha koo nuh muh ta ta)
please – tafadhali  (tah fah dah lee)
sorry – pole  (poh lay)
thank you – ahsante  (ah sahn tay)
thanks – shukrani  (shook rah nee)
what is that? – nini hiyo  (nee nee hee yo)
where is… – wapi  (wah pee)
yes / no – ndio / la  (n dee' oh / lah)
you are welcome – karibu  (kah ree' boo)

And here’s how to say what is that? in other languages!

Arabic–Ma Haza?  (ma ha za)
Chinese–Nà Shì Shénme?  (Na Shr Shuh Muh?)
Croatian–što je to?  (shtoe yay toe?)
Czech–co to je?  (so toy eh?)
Finnish–mikä tuo on?  (mi kah t uh oh on)
French–Qu'est que c'est  (kehs kuh say)
German–was ist das?  (vahst is dahs?)
Italian–che cos'è?  (chay koh say?)
Japanese–Are Ha Nandesuka?  (Ah Reh Wah Nahnn Dess Kah?)
Korean–Jeogeoneun Mwoyeyo?  (Jo Go Nun Mo Ae Yo?)
Polish–Co to jest?  (Tzo to yest?)
Portuguese–Que É Isso?  (kay eh ee-soo?)
Russian–chto eto takoe?  (shto etah tah koh ye?)
Spanish–¿qué es eso?  (kay ess essō?)
Swahili–nini hiyo  (nee nee hee yo)
Thai–Nan Arai?  (NAHN ah-rai?)
Turkish–bu ne?  (boo nay?)
Vietnamese–Cái Gì Vậy?  (Kay Yee Vuhy)

Dining? On Safari? See something strange? Then you want to ask "what is that?" (nini hiyo) to your host or tour guide in Swahili before deciding whether you want to engage or take a run! That is the fun part of experiencing other cultures. For more fun phrases, get instant access to the Swahili Language Set.

Contributor

Carol Kimari
Biography: Carol is a skilled project manager and content specialist located in Nairobi, Kenya. She also runs an online portal for Kenyan Moms.
Born: Nairobi, Kenya
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

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