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Useful phrases in Bemba

A collection of useful phrases in Bemba (Chibemba), a Bantu language spoken in Zambia, Congo and Tanzania.

Click on any of the phrases that are links (blue) to hear them spoken. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

To see these phrases in many other languages click on the English versions. If you'd like to see these phrases in any combination of two languages, try the Phrase Finder.

Key to abbreviations: frm = formal, inf = informal, sg = singular (said to one person), pl = plural (said to more than one person).

Phrase Chibemba (Bemba)
Welcome Mwaiseni
Hello (General greeting) Shani
Ulishani (inf)
Mulishani (frm)
Mwapoleni mukwai
Eya mukwai (reply)
Hello (on phone)
How are you? Ulishani? (inf)
Mulishani? (frm)
Ifintu filishani? (How are things?)
Mwashibukashaani? (How did you sleep?)
Mwabombashaani? (How has work been?)
Reply to 'How are you?' Ndi bwino, ngaiwe?
Bwino, ngaiwe?
Long time no see
What's your name? Niwe nani?
Nimwe bani ishina?
My name is ... Nine ... Ishina lyandi ni ...
Where are you from? Wafumakwisa?
I'm from ... Nafuma ku ...
Pleased to meet you Natemwa pakukumona
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Mwaikaleni
'Mwaombeni
Mwashibukeni
Eya mukwai (reply)
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Cungulo mukwai
Mwaikaleni
'Mwaombeni
Mwashibukeni
Eya mukwai (reply)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Chungulopo mukwai
Eya mukwai (reply)
Good night Sendamenipo
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Shaleenipo
Twalamonana (See you later)
Tukamonana mailo (See you tomorrow)
Good luck!
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Chileshe!
Have a nice day Tandalenipo umutende
Bombenipo umutende
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Mwende bwino!
Yes Ee
No Awe
Maybe
I don't know Nshishibe
I understand
I don't understand Nshumfwile
Please speak more slowly Landa panono panono
Please say that again Bwekeshapo
Please write it down
Do you speak English? Walishimba icisungu?
Do you speak Bemba? Walishimba Icibemba?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
We panono
Speak to me in Bemba
How do you say ... in Bemba? Mulanda shaani ... mu Cibemba?
Excuse me Njeleleniko
Mbelelako uluse
How much is this? Lunga?
Shinga?
Sorry Njeleleniko
Mbelelako uluse
Please Mukwai
Thank you Tsikomo
Natolela sana
Tatotela sana
Reply to thank you Eya mukwai
Awe, cilifye, mukwai
Where's the toilet? Ukuwakusaukila nikwisa?
Icimbusu cilikwisa, mukwai?
This gentleman will pay for everything
This lady will pay for everything
Would you like to dance with me?
Do you come here often?
I miss you Nkakufuluka
I love you Niwe natemwa
Nalikutemwa (sg)
Nalimutemwa (pl)
Get well soon
Go away! Kabiye!
Kabiyeni!
Fumeni apa!
Leave me alone! Ndekeni nemwine!
Help! Njafweniko!
Fire!
Stop! Kabolala uyo!
Iminineni!
Call the police! Iteni ba kapokola!
Iteni ba Police!
Christmas and New Year greetings Kristu abe nenu muli ino nshiku nkulu ya Mwezi
Easter greetings
Birthday greetings Sefya ubushiku wafyelwe (sg)
Sefyeni ubushiku mwafyelwe (pl)
One language is never enough
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?

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