In Swahili, the accent will almost always fall on the second-to-last syllable.
"Tarangire" is easy: Tar-a-NGEE-reh. The "ng" in any word will be pronounced like the "ng" in "sing."
So when a word starts with "ng," as does "Ngorongoro," you will pronounce that n -- but without sneaking in a vowel between the "n" and the "g":
Try not to make the "ng" a syllable. The two letters are pronounced as if they were one letter -- very nasal.
We said Taran jeer, our guide, Taran geera, didn't notice a difference with Ngorongoro, but rest assured everyone is used to westerners mispronunciation. If you are really concerned, just say "the crater".
Look up a Swahili - English dictionary on line and learn simple things such as hello, thankyou, etc. I also memorised a lot of animals in Swahili which caused great mirth with our driver at my mispronunciation. We had a lot of laughs with this.
The Swahili "g" is always hard -- the "soft g" is represented by the letter "j." That's why it's TaranGire and not TaranJire.
But as Susan says, they enjoy every effort we make to speak their language, however clumsy! "Tafadhali" and "asante" go a LONG way toward earning a smile! "Yes," is "ndiyo" and "no" is "hapana."
Pimsleur has a nice little mini-class on CD's which is very useful for hearing the pronunciation and guiding you through some elementary conversations. There's a really good textbook available on Amazon called "Swahili: A Foundation for Reading, Hearing and Writing," (I think" that will give you a solid introduction to the grammar, if you're really into languages, as I am. Kiswahili is a lovely language -- with a fascinating structure quite different from the romance languages most of us studied in school (although noun-adjective agreement remains a feature here, as well), with verb tenses easier than in most languages but nouns decidedly more complicated! But short phrases are easily mastered with a really good phrase book -- Lonely Planet has one that's quite useful!
I'm terrible when it comes to language but do my utmost to learn the basics in most - hello - goodbye - how much - too much - thank you - please - and I can assure you every guide understands 'we have to find the loo" regardless your native language. Guides usually tell you what phrase they wish for this last one after they ask 'what game is of interest.'
If not sure about any of the Swahili names, just ask your guide and they'll gladly accommodate and not feel any worse about you.
On one visit my BF and I found ourselves talking a few Hebrew words with our guide after we heard him stop to chat fluidly with an Israeli guide, as we managed to pick up words we recalled from when we were kids in after-school day classes.... you never know from where your memory will come.
The East coast of Africa had been the trade routes to the Middle East and people had to converse, why there is so much similarity in the various languages.
Don't make a big deal out of it.
Hey, apollo! You got it backwards! It's Mto WA Mbu -- the pronunciation is Mtoh-wa-Mboo! Say it fast, and it's fun to say!!
Sandi's right -- it's by no means a big deal -- but you can have fun in camps and lodges chatting with the staff and having them teach you Kiswahili! They LOVE it when you try, and it really does create a sense of satisfaction when you can use one or two words or phrases comfortably.
Here's one fun hint: "Hi," is, generally, expressed to wazungu (white people) as "Jambo." But if you really want to impress, answer back "Sijambo, asante!" (that's "see-jambo!)") instead of "Jambo," as most tourists do. Because "Jambo" is short for "Hujambo" meaning "is anything wrong (with you)?" And the typical response would be "Sijambo" meaning "nothing's wrong (with me)!" The greeting, fascinatingly to me, emphasizes the question -- not "is everything okay?" but, rather, the question, "has anything gone horribly wrong in your life?" and the response -- almost inevitably -- "no, nothing horrible is happening in my life." There is some psychological impetus behind this locution, but I can't, for the life of me, decide what subtle cultural meaning lies behind this apparently negative construction.
I have always found languages fascinating in the ways they tend to reflect the cultures in which they emerge.
By the way -- the plural of "Hujambo" (how are you?) is "Hamjambo" (How are ya'all?) And the response would be "Hatujambo!" (We're great!!)
"Sijambo" and "hatujambo" will blow their minds! Very few westerners go to the trouble to learn even one such appropriate response! And these are SO easy -- hardly any effort required to give a LOT of pleasure to the wonderful people who'll be hosting you at your various camps and lodges. And that pleasure will sure be reciprocated in memories you'll cherish all your life.
I did once hear Tara- Ngire as in Ngire = Warthog meaning place of Warthog's but cant remember which tribal language it was from, anyone?
I don't know about the "tara" part, achnab -- but "ngiri" is definitely the Swahili word for warthog. And a very appropriate name it is, if true -- just past the gate we are always greeted by a family or two of warthogs, and they seem ubiquitous throughout the park! I never put the name of the park together with "ngiri" before now, though, so THANKS!!
SandiLL - great posting, but gotta say for me it would be difficult if I had a drink in one hand!
Unless one takes the time to really learn Swahili, I've found that the guides and staff know foreign languages better than any of us and that's not only English. I've heard some speaking fluid French, Italian,
Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, even Chinese and others that I didn't have the foggiest what they were.