Useful Sesotho phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Southern Sotho, a Bantu language spoken in Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zambia.

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See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

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

English seSotho (Southern Sotho)
Welcome Kena ka kgotso! (sg)
Kenang ka kgotso! (pl)
Hello (General greeting) Lumela
Dumela (sg)
Dumelang (pl)
How are you? O kae? (Where are you?)
O phela joang? (How are you living?)
Reply to 'How are you?' Ke teng, wena o kae?
(I'm here, where are you?)
Ke phela hantle, wena o phela jwang?
(I'm living fine, how are you living?)
Long time no see  
What's your name? Lebitso la hao ke mang?
My name is ... Lebitso laka ke ...
Where are you from? O tswa kae?
I'm from ... Ke tswa ...
Pleased to meet you  
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Mmoro (sg) Mmorong (pl)
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Fonane (sg) Fonaneng (pl)
Good night Fonane (sg) Fonaneng (pl)
(Parting phrases)
Sala hantle (to person staying)
Tsamaya hantle (to person leaving)
Good luck! Ke u lakaletsa lehlohonolo
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Have a nice day  
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
O tsamaye hantle; Tsela tsweu (white road)
I don't know Ha ke tsebe
I don't understand Ha ke utlwisise
Please speak more slowly  
Please say that again  
Please write it down  
Do you speak Sesotho? O a bua Sesotho?
Na o a bua Sesotho?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
I'm learning Sesotho Ki eathuta sesotho
Do you speak English? O a bua Senyesemane?
Na o a bua Senyesemane?
How do you say ... in Sesotho?  
Excuse me Ntshwarele
I would like ... Ke kopa ...
How much is this? Ke bokae?
Sorry Ntshwarele
Thank you Ke a leboha
Ke a leboha haholo
Reply to thank you O amohetswe
Where's the toilet / bathroom? Ntloana e kae?
Batekamore e kae?
This gentleman will pay for everything  
This lady will pay for everything  
Would you like to dance with me?  
I love you Ke a o rata
Get well soon  
Leave me alone! Ntohelle kele notsi!
Help! Ke kopa thuso!
Stop! Ema!
Call the police!  
Christmas greetings Keresemese e monate le mahlohonolo a selemo se setjha
Easter greetings  
Birthday greetings Letsatsi le monate la tswalo
Congratulations! Kea leboha!
One language is never enough  
My hovercraft is full of eels  


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