How to speak ‘Shembeteng’ according to Kenyan Dictionary

The popular account even provided a key to the code.

If you’re just finding out about this, maybe the best place to start is at the beginning. Shembeteng is basically Sheng but with added words but we’ll get back to this. The language first made an appearance online when a video went viral of a group of young men trying to explain how to speak the language to what seemed like a baffled interviewer.

How to speak Shembeteng

The foundation of any language is its alphabet and at the very least its vowel system. In this case, the “aeiou” of the Shembeteng language is “Mbata”, “Mbete”, “Mbiti”, “Mboto” and “Mbutu”.

What this means is that in a word where the letter “a” appears the additional words to add would be “Mbata”, if the letter is “e” then the additional words are “mbete” and so on. For example, Wangu would become Wambatangu, Zote would become Zombotote and Sheng would become, you guessed it, Shembeteng.

Obviously, like all languages, it becomes harder as you go on but the key thing to keep in mind is that Shembeteng is a variation of sheng, not Kiswahili. That’s why words like Nakulombotove exist in this language.




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