Introduction to Kinyarwanda on this website

First of all, welcome to Rwanda! You’ll enjoy the idyllic weather in this beautiful, clean and safe country.

If you’re planning on staying here a while, you’ll probably want to learn the native language Kinyarwanda for your own sanity and as a courtesy to the people here who don’t speak English, French or Swahili.

Unfortunately, Kinyarwanda is a difficult language to learn. The language has many idiosyncrasies and irregularities – and not just regarding adjectives and verbs. Even nouns, such as numbers, change, depending on context. It’s also difficult finding written resources that can aid your learning.

The approach I’ve taken to learn Kinyarwanda is to learn phrases for specific contexts – with my guard, with moto-taxi drivers, with cleaners at my office. I share these with you, by dividing them by context. Through the taxonomies, you’ll get a window into how expat life can be in Kigali, if you’re not yet living here.

Beyond Rwanda’s borders, Kinyarwanda is spoken in North and South Kivu in the DRC. Burundi’s language Kirundi is more or less the same as Kinya. Kinya speakers also say they are able to understand Luganda, a fellow-Bantu language spoken in south-western Uganda.

As I learn more, I’ll update these posts. My teacher is Emmanuel Karyabwite (available on +250 (0)788 222 499), a former clergyman. He teaches in French and would be happy to hear you want to take lessons from him at RWF 5,000 for 1.5 hours.
Lesson 1: Greetings and pleasantries in Kinyarwanda

Lesson 2: Getting around, issuing instructions to taxi drivers in Kinyarwanda

Other useful resources:

– English Kinya online dictionary

Kinya grammar

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