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Xhosa phrasebook

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Xhosa is a language of South Africa.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Vowels[edit]

like a in hard
like e in red
like ee in seen
like a in all
like oo in moon

Consonants[edit]

d, f, h, j, l, m, n 
Pronounced as in English
s, sh, v, w, y, z 
Pronounced as in English
dl 
Similar in sound to hl (see below)
always like g in go
hl 
Place your tongue to the side of your mouth and expel the air (like Welsh ll sound)
ts 
A hissing sound made by placing your tongue just above your teeth and ejecting air.
tsh 
similar to dge in judge
ty 
similar to dge in judge
pronounced like "ch" in Reich

Common diphthongs[edit]

Clicks[edit]

Place your tongue at the back of the teeth and suck in, like when expressing annoyance.
Place your tongue on the roof of the mouth and suck in, like imitating a clock's ticking.
Place your tongue on your upper right jaw and pull it down, as if urging on a horse.

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs

OPEN 
Vula
CLOSED 
Vala
ENTRANCE 
Ngena
EXIT 
Phuma
PUSH 
Thyala
PULL 
Tsala
TOILET 
indlu yangasese
MEN 
amadoda
WOMEN 
amabhinqa
FORBIDDEN 
akuvumelekanga


Hello. 
Molo.
Hello. (informal
Kunjani.
How are you? 
Unjani?
Fine, thank you. 
Ndiyaphila, enkosi.
And how are you? 
Wena unjani?
What is your name? 
Ngubani igama lakho?
My name is ______ . 
Igama lam ngu ______ .
Nice to meet you. 
Ndiyavuya ukukwazi.
Please. 
Ndicela. ('Ndiyacela' )
Thank you. 
Enkosi. or ('Ndiyabulela')
You're welcome. 
. ('wamkelekile' )
Yes. 
Ewe.
No. 
Hayi.
Excuse me. (getting attention
. ('ndicela uxolo ) or ('uxolo )
Excuse me. (begging pardon
Uxolo andi(ku)vanga.
I'm sorry. 
. ('ndixolele' )
Goodbye 
Uhambe/Usale kakuhle.
Goodbye (informal
. ( )
I can't speak Xhosa. 
Andi(si)thethi isiXhosa. or ('Andikwazi ukuthetha isiXhosa )
Do you speak English? 
Uyasithetha isingesi na? or ('Uyakwazi ukuthetha isingesi' ? )
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
 ? ('Ukhona apha umntu othetha isiNgesi' ?)
Good morning. 
Molo.
Good evening. 
. ('Molo' )
Good night. 
Ulale kakuhle.
Sweet dreams. 
Mathongo amnandi.
Good night (to sleep
. ( )
I don't understand. 
Andiqondi.
I don't know. 
Andazi.
Where is the toilet? 
 ? ('Iphi indlu yangasese' ?)

Problems[edit]

My ... have been stolen. 
I ... yam intshontshiwe. or ('I ... yam ibiwe' )
I've lost my ... 
Ndilahlekelwe yi ...
handbag 
isingxobo or ibhegi
passport 
pasipoti ('incwadi yokundwendwela' )
luggage 
mpahla
wallet 
spaji

Numbers[edit]

unothi
-nye
-mbini
-ntathu
-ne
hlanu
-thandathu
-sixhenxe
-sibhozo
-sithoba
10 
-shumi

Time[edit]

English expressions for telling the time are commonly used by Xhosa speakers

Duration[edit]

in the morning 
kusasa
during the day 
emini
in the evening 
ngokuhlwa
in the afternoon
emvakwemini
at night 
ebusuku
yesterday 
izolo
today 
namhlanje
tomorrow 
ngomso

Days[edit]

Sunday 
iCawe
Monday 
uMvulo
Tuesday 
uLwesibini
Wednesday 
uLwesithathu
Thursday 
uLwesine
Friday 
uLweshlanu
Saturday 
uMgqibelo

Months[edit]

January  
eyoMqungu
February 
eyoMdumba
March 
eyoKwindla
April 
uTshazimpunzi
May 
uCanzibe
June 
eyeSilimela
July 
eyeKhala
August 
eyeThupha
September 
eyoMsintsi
October 
eyeDwarha
November 
eyeNkanga
December 
eyoMnga

Colors[edit]

black 
mnyama
blue 
luhlaza okwesibhakabhaka
brown 
mdaka
green 
luhlaza okwegca
orange 
mthubi
red 
bomvu
white 
mhlophe
yellow 
tselli

Transportation[edit]

cela undincede ngohambo- please help me with travelling

Bus and train[edit]

ikhwelwa phi ibus- where do you take a bus?

Ikwelwa phi itrain- where do you take train

Directions[edit]

jika ekhohlo ubese uya nganeno unyuke uqonde phezulu- turn left then u go right straight up

Jikela isekile- drive around the circle

Taxi[edit]

How much is it to...? 
Yimalini ukuya e...? ( !)
Take me to this address. 
Ndise kule dilesi.
Please stop here 
Yima apha

Lodging[edit]

I need a room 
Ndifuna igumbi
One room 
Igumbi elinye
Two rooms 
Amagumbi amabini
Single room 
Igumbi lomntu omnye
Double room 
Igumbi labantu ababini
Per person 
Umntu emnye
Bed and Breakfast 
A meal 
Isidlo
Beaverages or Drinks 
Isiselo
Supper 
Isidlo sangokuhlwa
Lunch 
Isidlo sasemini
Dinner 
Isidlo sasemvakwemini
Kitchen 
Igumbi lokuphekela ('Ekhitshini')
Sharing 
Kunye ('ukwabelana')?

Money[edit]

Money 
Imali
In cash 
eziinkozo
Cheque 
itsheke ?
Postal order 
Coins 
imali eziinkozo
Notes 
imali engamaphepa
Expensive 
ixabisa kakhulu or iyabiza

Eating[edit]

Ukutya

Bars[edit]

Shopping[edit]

Driving[edit]

Turn
jika
Left
ekhohlo
Right
ekunene
Stop
('stop the car' ): misa or ('yima')
Go
hamba
Forward
phambili
Go forward
bheka phambili
Straight ahead
phambili
Gravel road
indlela yomhlaba

Authority[edit]

Emergency[edit]

Help! 
Nceda!
Look out! 
Qaphela!
Call the police! 
Biza amapolisa!
Get a doctor! 
Biza ugqirha!
Go away! 
Hamba
I'm ill. 
Ndiyagula.
I'm lost. 
Ndilahlekile.
Leave me alone! 
Ndiyeke!
Stop thief! 
Yima sela!

Communication[edit]

Telephone 
Umnxeba
Telegram 
Ucingo
Mobile or Cellphone 
('makhal'ekhukhwini'? / 'nomyayi'? / 'umnxeba wasesinqeni'?)
Make a call 
tsala umnxeba
Give So&So a call 
tsalela u So&So umnxeba
Mail 
Iposi
By post : ngeposi
Fast mail 
iposi engxamisekileyo
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