A collection of useful phrases in Southern Sotho, a Bantu language spoken in Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zambia.
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
|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|
|Mmoro (sg) Mmorong (pl)|
|Fonane (sg) Fonaneng (pl)|
|Good night||Fonane (sg) Fonaneng (pl)|
|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 ...?')
|Do you speak English?||O a bua Senyesemane?
Na o a bua Senyesemane?
|How do you say ... in Sesotho?|
|How much is this?||Ke bokae?|
|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!
|Call the police!|
|Christmas greetings||Keresemese e monate le mahlohonolo a selemo se setjha|
|Birthday greetings||Letsatsi le monate la tswalo|
|One language is never enough|
|My hovercraft is full of eels|
If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.
Hear some of these phrases being spoken:
Bemba, Chichewa, Herero, Kikuyu, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Lozi, Luganda, Ndebele (Northern - South Africa), Ndebele (Northern - Zimbabwe), Ndebele (Southern) Nkore, Northern Sotho, Shona, Southern Sotho (seSotho), Swahili, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Tumbuka, Umbundu, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
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