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Useful Shona phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Shona, a Bantu language spoken mainly in Zimbabwe.

To see these phrases in many other languages click on the English versions.

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

English chiShona (Shona)
Welcome Mauya
Hello
(General greeting)
Mhoro (sg)
Mhoroi (pl)
How are you? Wakadini zvako? (sg)
Makadini zvenyu? (pl)
Reply to 'How are you?' Ndiripo
Long time no see Ko, vemakore!
What's your name? Unonzani? (sg)
Munonzani? (pl)
My name is ... Ndinonzi...
Zita rangu i.....
Where are you from? Unobva kupi? (sg)
Munobva kupi? (pl)
I'm from ... Ndinobva ku...
Pleased to meet you Ndafara kukuziva (sg)
Ndafara kukuzivai (pl)
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Mangwanani
Mangwanani, marara sei? (reply)
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Masikati
Masikati, maswera sei? (reply)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Manheru
Maswera sei (reply)
Good night Urare zvakanaka (sg)
Murare Zvakanaka (pl)
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Sara Zvakanaka (sg)
Sariayi Zvakanaka (pl)
Good luck Uve nemhanza yakanaka (sg)
Muve nemhanza yakanaka (pl)
Cheers!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Have a nice day Uve nezuva rakanaka (sg)
Muve nezuva rakanaka (pl)
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Pamusoroyi
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Ufambe zvakanaka (sg)
Mufambe zvakanaka (pl)
I don't understand Handisi kunyaso nzwisisa
Please speak more slowly Ndinokumbirawo kuti musakurumidze kutaura
Please say that again Ndinokumbirawo kuti muzvitaure futi
Please write it down Ndinokumbirawo kuti muzvinyore pasi
Do you speak ...? Unotaura ...? (sg)
Munotaura ...? (pl)
How do you say ... in Shona?
Excuse me Pamusoro (sg)
Pamusoroyi (pl)
How much is this? Chinoita marii?
Sorry Ndineurombo
Thank you
Response
Waita zvako (sg)
Maita zvenyu (pl)
Unotendei?
Zvakanaka
Where's the toilet? Chimbuzi chiripi?
This gentleman will pay for everything Baba ava ndivo vachabhadhara
This lady will pay for everything Amai ava ndivo vachabhadhara
Would you like to dance with me? Ungande kutamba? (sg)
Mungade kutamba? (pl)
I love you Ndinokuda
Get well soon Ndinovimba kuti uchakurumidza kupora (sg)
Ndinovimba kuti muchakurumidza kupora (pl)
Leave me alone! Ndisiye!!
Help!
Fire!
Stop!
Ndibatsireiwo!
Fire! Moto!
Stop! Mira!
Call the police! Daiidzayi mapurisa!
Christmas and New Year greetings Muve nekisimusi ne goredzva zvakanaka
Easter greetings
Birthday greetings
One language is never enough Rurimi rumwe haruzadzikisa mutauro
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
Hovercraft yangu yakazara nemikunga

Shona phrases provided by Emma Thembani and Paida Magiga

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

Information about Shona | Shona phrases | Tower of Babel in Shona

Phrases in Niger-Congo languages

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Phrases in other languages