English Phrases

Welcome Siyaliyamukela
Hello (General greeting) Mushade! / Lotjhani!
How are you? U(n)jani? (sg) / Li(n)jani? (pl) (or to an elder)
Reply to ‘How are you?’ Diyaphila (sg) / Siyaphila (pl) / Dikhona (sg) / Sikhona (pl)
Nkhona (sg) / Sikhona (pl)
U(n)jani wena? (response)
Long time no see Nkade dakubona / Nkade ngakuboni
What’s your name? Libito / Litinyo lakho (n)gubani
My name is … Libito / Litinyo lami gu … / Mina digu …
Where are you from? Uvela kuphi? / Uphuma kuphi?
I’m from … Divela e …
Pleased to meet you Nthabele kukubona
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Mushade / Lotjhani, livukile?
Mushade / Lotjhani, lithobele jani?
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Mushade / Lotjhani
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Mushade/Lotjhani, lihlwe (n)jani? (sg), lihlwe (n)jani? (pl) (or to an elder)
Good night Uthobale kuhle (sg) / Lithobale kuhle (pl) (or to an elder)
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Usale kuhle (sg) / Lisale kuhle (pl) (or to an elder)
Good luck Mahlati amahle!
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Buphilo bobuhle!
Have a nice day Ube nella(n)ga lelihle (sg) / Libe nella(n)ga lelihle (pl) (or to an elder)
Bon appetit / Have a nice meal Udle kamuna(n)di! (sg) / Lidle kamuna(n)di! (pl) (or to an elder)
Bon voyage / Have a good journey Ukha(m)bhe kuhle / Ube neliyedo lelihle (sg) / Likha(m)bhe kuhle / Libe neliyedo lelihle (pl) (or to an elder)
I don’t know Adiyati /Adiwati
I understand Ndiyavisisa
I don’t understand Adivisisi
Please speak more slowly Sumela kanghatanyana (kanghane) / Sumayela kanghatanyana (kanghane)
Please say that again Nku(m)bhela usumele / lisumele leso ka(m)bhe
Nkhu(m)bhela usumayele / lisumayele leso ka(m)bhe
Please write it down Gwala pha(n)si
Do you speak English? Usumela / Usumayela sikxhuwa?
Do you speak Northern Ndebele? Usumela / Usumayela siNdebele saseNyakatho?
Yes, a little
(reply to ‘Do you speak …?’)
Yebo, kanghane / Ee, kanghane
Speak to me in Northern Ndebele Sumela / Sumayela nami geSiNdebele (saseNyakatho)
How do you say … in Northern Ndebele? Kuthwani … ngeSiNdebele?
Excuse me Kahle! Jama bhili! (when stopping someone from saying or doing something)

Nkhubhela ku(n)dlula / Andlule! (when you want to pass)

How much is this? Mbugagi?
Sorry Mphathele / Nkhu(m)bhela mphathelo
Please Dikhu(m)bhela
Thank you Diyalebuka
Reply to thank you Kulu(n)gile
Where’s the toilet? Ikuphi ndlwana?
This gentleman will pay for everything Lisokana leli litabhadelela tokxe
This lady will pay for everything Muthembana lo utabhadelela tokxe
Nkxosatana le itabhadelela tokxe
Would you like to dance with me? Ufuna kubina / kuthagela / kurida nami?
Do you come here often? Uta la kanyeti?
I miss you Diyakukhu(m)bhula
I love you Diyakutha(n)da
Get well soon Uphole ga(m)bhila
Go away! Suka! / Kha(m)bha!
Leave me alone! Nsukele! / Nsukeleni! (reply to an elder or more than one person)
Help! Sita! / Thusha!
Fire! Mullo!
Stop! Jama!
Call the police! Bita maphodisa!
Is it safe there? Kubulugekile lapho?
Christmas and New Year greetings Nkhresimusi ehle neMunyaka omutjha omuhle
Easter greetings Mukhosi weMbhasinga omuhle
Birthday greetings Ube nelilla(n)ga lelihle lemabeletho (sg)

Libe nelilla(n)ga lelihle lemabeletho (pl)

One language is never enough Lilimi linye ligasivuki liyanele
How was your day? Uhlwe jani (sg) / Lihlwe jani? (pl)
What time is it? Nnago bani?
When will you see us again? Uto sibona nini ka(m)bhe?
When will we see you again? Sito kubona nini ka(m)bhe?
Pass my greetings Umulotjhise (sg) / Ubalotjhise (pl)
Where do you work? Usebenta kuphi? / Uberega kuphi?
Where are you going? Uyakuphi? (sg) (Uya’phi?) / Liyakuphi? (pl) (Liya’phi?)
We are going to … Diya e … (sg) / Siya e …(pl)
Where do you live? Uhlala kuphi? (Uhlala’phi?)
I am looking for … Nfuna ….
How do I get to … Diyajani e …
Where is the road to … Ndlela yekuya e … ikuphi?
Where do I board a bus/taxi? Nkhwela kuphi mbhese/nteksi?
How do I stop a taxi to town? Njamisa jani nteksi yekuya etirojeni?
Where is the nearest shop/store? Libengela leli likudute likuphi?
Libengela lakudute likuphi?
Where do I buy … Nthe(n)ga kuphi …
How much is this? Mbugagi?
Where can I sleep? Ngathobala kuphi?
Where is the nearest hotel? Nhotele yakudute ikuphi?
Where is the nearest bank? Mbhanka yakudute ikuphi?
Where is the nearest ATM? Mutjhini wentjhelede osedute ukuphi?
Where is the hospital? Sibhedlela sikuphi?
How is the place? Ndawo yakhona i(n)jani?
Where can I find a doctor / medic? Ngafumana kuphi nnyaga (yesikxhuwa)?
Can I have water please? Nkhu(m)bhela mma(n)ti.
Where can I see wild animals? Ngabona kuphi tinyamatana?

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