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Sesotho phrasebook

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Sesotho is the main language of Lesotho and is one of the official languages of South Africa.

Pronunciation guide

Vowels

as in spa
as in pit, cafe, or bed
as in beet
as in put, French "oiseau", or board
as in boot

Consonants

same as English, only fully voiced
bj 
pronounced as above, followed by either the s as in vision or the j as in yarn
same as English as an allophone of l that only occurs before i and u
same as English
fj 
pronounced as above, followed by sh as in she
same as English, voiced or unvoiced; it's an allophone, either way
as in vision or jam
as in skill, only unaspirated
kh 
fully aspirated k, which occurs mostly in old loanwords and ideophones
same in English
same in English
same in English
ng 
as in sing
ny 
as in onion or Spanish "el niño"
as in spit, only unaspirated
ph 
fully aspirated p
pj 
pronounced as p, followed by sh as in she
pjh 
aspirated pj
same as English
sh 
as in shoe
as in stalk, only unaspirated
th 
aspirated t
tj 
as in which, only unaspirated
tjh 
aspirated tj
ts 
as in cats, only unaspirated
tsh 
aspirated ts
same in English
as in yarn
Tricky Consonants
hl 
kg 
as in the way the Scottish say loch
as in French, only soft
tl 
tlh 
aspirated tl
This one is a click consonant. The best bet at pronouncing this is trying to imitate a horse that's trotting.
qh 
aspirated q

Common diphthongs

Phrase list

Basics

Common signs

OPEN 
CLOSED 
ENTRANCE 
EXIT 
PUSH 
PULL 
TOILET 
MEN 
WOMEN 
FORBIDDEN 


Hello. 
Lumela. (doomellah)
Hello. (informal
Khotso. (hotsow)
How are you? 
U phela joang? (oo-pee-la-jwang)
Fine, thank you. 
Kea phela (key-ah-pee-la)
What is your name? 
Lebitso la hau ke mang? (leh-beet-saw la-how key-mung)
My name is ______ . 
Lebitso la ka ke ______ . ( _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
Ke thabela ho u tseba . ( key-ta-bell-a-who-oo-t-see-ba ')
Please. 
. (Ke kopa hore o... )
Thank you. 
Kea leboha. ( )
You're welcome. 
. ( )
Yes. 
. (Eea )
No. 
. (Che )
Excuse me. (getting attention
. (A k'u ntšoarele hanyane)
Excuse me. (begging pardon
. ( )
I'm sorry. 
Ntšoarele. ( )
Goodbye 
Sala hantle. ( )
Goodbye (informal
. ( )
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
[ ]. ( [Ha ke tseba ho bua Sefora/Sekhooa.])
Do you speak English? 
U bua sekhooa ? ( ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
 ? (Hona le motho ea tsebang ho bua Sekhooa?)
Help! 
Ke kopa thuso! ( !)
Look out! 
 ! (Hlokomela !)
Good morning. 
. (Lumaka/Khotso )
Good evening. 
. (Lumela/Khotso )
Good night. 
. (Lumela/Khotso )
Good night (to sleep
Robala hantle. ( )
I don't understand. 
Ha ke utloisise. ( )
Where is the toilet? 
 ? (Ntloaneng ke kae?)

Problems

Leave me alone. 
("...")
Don't touch me! 
("...")
I'll call the police. 
("...")
Police! 
("...")
Stop! Thief! 
("...")
I need your help. 
("...")
It's an emergency. 
("...")
I'm lost. 
("...")
I lost my bag. 
("...")
I lost my wallet. 
("...")
I'm sick. 
("...")
I've been injured. 
("...")
I need a doctor. 
("...")
Can I use your phone? 
("...")

Numbers

Ngoe
Peli
Tharo
'Ne
Hlano
Ts'elela
Supa
Robeli
Robong
10 
Leshome
11 
Leshome le motso o mong
12 
Leshome le metso e 'meli
13 
Leshome le metso e meraro
14 
Leshome le metso e mene
15 
Leshome le metso e mehlano
16 
Leshome le metso e ts'eletseng
17 
Leshome le metso e supileng
18 
Leshome le metso e robeli
19 
Leshome le metso e robong
20 
Mashome a mabeli
30 
Mashome a mararo
40 
Mashome a mane
50 
Mashome a mahlano
60 
Mashome a ts'eletseng
70 
Mashome a supileng
80 
Mashome a robeli
90 
Mashome a robong
100 
Lekholo
200 
Makholo a mabeli
300 
Makholo a mararo
400 
Makholo a mane
600 
Makholo a mahlano
600 
Makholo a ts'eletseng
700 
Makholo a supileng
800 
Makholo a robeli
900 
Makholo a robong
1000 
Sekete

Time

Clock time

Hour 
Hora
Hours 
Dihora
Minute 
Motsotso
Minutes 
Metsotso
Second 
Motsotswana
Seconds 
Metsotswana

Duration

Days

Monday 
Mantaha
Tuesday 
Labobedi
Wednesday 
Laboraro
Thursday 
Labone
Friday 
Labohlano
Saturday 
Moqebelo
Sunday 
Sontaha
Weekend 
Mafelo a beke

Months

Januaty 
("...")
February 
("...")
March 
("...")
April 
("...")
May 
("...")
June 
("...")
July 
("...")
August 
("...")
September 
("...")
October 
("...")
November 
("...")
December 
("...")

Writing time and date

Colors

Red 
("...")
Yellow 
("...")
Green 
("...")
Blue 
("...")
Black 
("...")
White 
("...")
Purple 
("...")
Orange 
("...")
Brown 
("...")
Grey 
("...")
Pink 
("...")

Transportation

Bus and train

How much is a ticket to _____? 
("...")
One ticket to _____, please. 
("...")
Where does this train/bus go? 
("...")
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
("...")
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
("...")
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
("...")
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
("...")

Directions

Taxi

Lodging

Money

Eating

Bars

Shopping

Driving

Authority

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Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages