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Swahili (lugha ya kiSwahili) is a Bantu language with the addition of extensive Arabic, Asian, and European (especially Portuguese) vocabulary. The theory that Swahili originated as an Arabic/Bantu trade pidgin has been discredited. Swahili was written in the Arabic alphabet for an extended period, but has switched to the Latin alphabet. Swahili can be written entirely in ASCII.

Bantu grammar makes extensive use of prefixes as grammatical modifiers. For example, "person" is "mtu", and "people" is "bantu". "m" and "ba" (or "wa") are prefixes for people of various kinds, while "ki" is a prefix for languages: Kikuyu, kiingreza (English), kinyarwanda (in Rwanda) and so on.

There is an extensive literature in Swahili.

There is a project to create a Swahili distribution of Linux to be called Kilinux. OpenOffice has been completely localized into Swahili.