Xhosa Words & Phrasebook

Xhosa Phrasebook

You can download this handy printable 9-page Xhosa phrasebook here: www.wildcoast.co.za/files/XhosaPhrasebook.pdf

The booklet contains the following hints on pronunciation, commonly used phrases, and useful English to Xhosa word translations:

Also see the NEW: Xhosa Live Dictionary  Best online Xhosa - English dictionary. Translates individual words from/to English or Xhosa.

Pronunciation guide

 

Vowels

a

like a in hard

e

like e in red

i

like ee in seen

o

like a in all

u

like oo in moon

Consonants

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)

g

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

r

pronounced like "ch" in Reich

Common diphthongs

Clicks

c

Place your tongue at the back of the teeth and suck in, like when expressing annoyance.

q

Place your tongue on the roof of the mouth and suck in, like imitating a clock's ticking.

x

Place your tongue on your upper right jaw and pull it down, as if urging on a horse.

 

Phrase list

Basics

 

Hello

Molo

Hello (to more than 1)

Molweni

How are you?

Kunjani?

Fine, thank you

Ndiyaphila, enkosi

And how are you?

Kunjani kuwe?

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 andivanga.

I'm sorry

Xolo ('ndixolele' )

Goodbye

Uhambe/Usale kakuhle.

I can't speak Xhosa

Andisithethi isiXhosa

Do you speak English?

Uyasithetha isingesi na?

Is there someone here who speaks English?

('Ukhona apha umntu othetha isiNgesi' ?)

Good morning

Molo

Good evening

('Molo' )

Good night

Ulale kakuhle

I don't understand

Andiqondi

I don't know

Andazi

Where is the toilet?

('Iphi indlu yangasese' ?)

 

Problems

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

0

unothi

1

enye

2

zimbini

3

zintathu

4

zine

5

zintlanu

6

zinthandathu

7

zisixhenxe

8

zisibhozo

9

zisithoba

10

lishumi

 

Time

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

 

Duration

in the morning

kusasa

during the day

emini

in the evening

ngokuhlwa

in the afternoon

emvakwemini

at night

ebsuku

yesterday

izolo

today

namhlanje

tomorrow

ngomso

 

Days

Sunday

Cawe

Monday

mvulo

Tuesday

sibini

Wednesday

sithathu

Thursday

sine

Friday

sihlanu

Saturday

mgqibelo

 

Months

January

uMdumba (Janyuwari)

February

uMthupha (Februwari)

March

ukwindla (Matshi)

April

uThazimpunzi (Epril)

May

uCanzibe (Meyi)

June

uSilimela (Juni)

July

uNtulikazi (Julayi)

August

eyeKhala (Agasti)

September

eyoMsintsi (Septemba)

October

eyeDwarha (Oktoba)

November

eyeNkanga (Novemba)

December

eyoMnga (Disemba)

 

Seasons

Summer

iHlobo

Autumn

uKwindla

Winter

uBusika

Spring

iNtwasahlobo

 

Compass Points

North

uMntla (Node)

East

eMpuma (eMpumalanga)

South

uMzantsi (Sude)

West

eNtshona (eNtshonalanga)

 

Colors

black

mnyama

blue

luhlaza

brown

ntsundu

green

luhlaza

orange

orenji

red

bomvu

white

mhlophe

yellow

mthubi

 

Taxi

How much is it to...?

Yimalini ukuya e...?

Take me to this address

Ndise kule dilesi

Please stop here

Yima apha

 

Lodging

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 eminye

 

Bed and Breakfast

A meal

Isidlo

Beverages or Drinks

Isiselo

Supper

Isidlo sangokuhlwa

Lunch

Isidlo sasemini

Dinner

Isidlo sasemvakwemini

Kitchen

Igumbi lokuphekela ('Ekhitshini')

Sharing

Kunye ('ukwabelana')?

 

Money

Money

Imali

In cash

eziinkozo

Cheque

itsheke ?

Coins

imali eziinkozo

Notes

imali engamaphepa

Expensive

ixabisa kakhulu or iyabiza

 

Driving

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

 

Emergency

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

Telephone

Umnxeba

Telegram

Ucingo

Mobile or Cellphone

ifoni

Make a call

tsala umnxeba

Give So&So a call

tsalela u So&So umnxeba

Mail

Iposi

By post

ngeposi

Fast mail

iposi engxamisekileyo

 

 

English Words

Amagama esiXhosa

1st born/

indla-lifa

a fly

impukane

air plane

ibalona

an ant

imbovane

army

impi

baby animal (chicken, piglet, ..)

intshontsho

baby goat/sheep/deer

itakane

bean/s

imbotyi/ii--

beg/ask (depends on situation)

-cela

beginning

isiqalo

bird

intaka

blood

igazi

book

incwadi

boy

inkwenkwe

breasts

amabele

bring about peace

xolisa

bus

uduladula

car

inqwelo-mafutha

champion

intshatsheli

cheek

isidlele

child/baby

umntwana/usana

circumcision

ulwaluko

clan name

isiduko

cliff

iliwa

close by

kufutshane

conspiracy

iyelenqe

country

ilizwe

danger

ingozi

day/date

usuku

dirty person (dwellings and personal)

ixelegu

doctor

ugqirha

dog

inja

ears

indlebe

earth

umhlaba

East

eMpuma

eel

umlenga

elephant

indlovu

eyes

amehlo

fable/tale

intsomi

face

ubuso

far

kude

farm

intsimi

Father

Tata

feet

inyawo

feminine gender

imazi

fight

umlo

fingers

iminwe

fish

intlanzi

Food

ukutya

forehead

ibunzi

forgiveness/peel

uxolo/ixolo

frog

ixoxo

gift/talent

isipho

God

uThixo/uQamata

government minister

umphathiswa

grand-child

umzukulwane

greet/to greet

-bulisa/ukubulisa

group/organization

umbutho

gum/laughter

intsini

hair

inwele

hand

isandla

hard worker/busy bee

ikhuthala

head/

intloko

health

impilo

Hello

Molo (s) Molweni (pl)

help

uncedo

hero

igokra

hill

ummango

him/her

yena

house

umzi

How are you/How are things?

Kunjani

humanity/he is humane/

ubuntu/unobuntu

in laws (parent)

umkhwe/...kazi

inheritance

ilifa

insult

isithuko

it

kona

kindness/generosity

ububele

knee

idolo

kraal

ubuhlanti

laughing stock

intlekisa

lazy person

inqenerha

lesson

isifundo

liar

ixoki

look/search

khangela

Love

-thanda

mad/dumb person

isidenge

madness

impambano

man

indoda

marriage/common law marriage

ukutshata/ukwenda

married woman

umfazi

masculine gender

induna

me

mna

meat

inyama

meeting

imbizo

mielies/corn

umbona

milk

ubisi

mine

Lam

mountain

intaba

mouth

umlomo

music

umculo

my brother

mfowethu

my sister

dadewethu

mystery

intsumantsumane

nail

uzipho

name

igama

neck

intamo

neighbour

ummelwane

North

uMntla

nose

impumlo

old man/old woman

ixhego/ixhegwazana

opportunity

inxaxheba

outside

phandle

parent

umzali

person

umntu

pig

ihagu

pillar/headman/ to stir

isibonda/uSibonda/ukubonda

place

indawo

question

Umbuzo

radio

unomathotholo

reason

isizathu

reporter

intatheli

respect

intlonipho

respond to a call

sabela

reward/salary

umvuzo

road/way (direction/law){constitution}

indlela (umgaqo){umgaqo-sisekelo}

rope

intambo

rope/phoneline

umnxeba

sack

ingxowa

sea

ulwandle

shadow/shade

isithunzi/umthunzi

sheep

igusha

short person/San

umthwa

shoulders/

amagxa

show

-veza

sin

isono

site

isiza

situation/circumstance

ubume/isimo

snake

inyoka

son-in-law

umkhwenyana

sour milk

amasi

tail

umsila

talent/career/call (as in becoming a priest)

ubizo

tallness

ubude

teacher/priest

umfundisi

television/binoculars

umabona-kude

the answer

impendulo

the end

isiphelo

the one

eyona

the South

uMzantsi

theirs

Yabo

them

bona

them

bona

thigh/pumkin

ithanga

time

ixesha

to be pregnant

ukukhulelwa

to bury/hide

ukufihla

to cause a fight while not fighting

thelekisa

to clean

ukucoca

to close

ukuvala

to cook

ukupheka

to cry

ukulila

to die

ukufa

to fall

ukuwa

to get mad/angry

ukucaphuka

to give birth

ukuzala

to kill

ukubulala

to laugh

ukuhleka

to open

ukuvula

to play

ukudlala

to rape

ukudlwengula

to show/reveal

ukuveza

to swim/duck

ukudada/idada

to write

ukubhala

tongue/language/gossip

ulwimi

tornado

inkanyamba

train

uloliwe

tree

umthi

unmarried woman/girl

intombi/intombazane

ups and downs

amahlandenyuka

visitor

undwendwe

voice

ilizwi

wake/to wake

vusa/ukuvusa

wall

udonga

water

amanzi

We are fine/We are here

Sikhona

West

eNtshona

whistle

umlozi

white meat

umkhwepha

white person

umlungu

wing

iphiko

wish

umnqweno

witch/witchcraft

igqwirha/ubugqwirha

wood

inkuni

wound

inxeba

xhin

isilevu

you

wena

yours

Yakho

 

 

Phrases to warm your heart

 

birds of a feather

amaphuth' ahlathinye

Greetings to you listeners

Molweni baphulaphuli

H/She is excited

uphethwe yimincili

He/She is full of him/herself

uyazithanda

I LOVE YOU

Ndiyakuthanda

please write home

nceda bhalela ekhaya

Thank you very much

Enkosi kakhuli

to take part/to participate

ukuthatha inxaxheba

you are a man amongst men

uyindoda emadodeni

 

Daily Conversation

 

and so on

njalo-njalo

beef

inyama yenkomo

bend over

dunusa

Beware of the dog

Lumkela inja

blow your nose

finya

Day and night

Imini nobususku

Do not sleep again

musa ukulala kwakhona

Dogs out!

Inja phandle

fat as a pig

utyebe okwehagu

fisherman

abalobi bentlanzi

He/She has a broken heart

Waphukelwe yintliziyo

he/she wants to pee

utshiswa ngumchamo

human mistake

impazamo eyenziwe ngumntu

I am busy

ndixakekile

I am tired now

ndidiniwe ngoku

I saw a white man

ndibone umlungu

I want food

Ndifuna ukudla

I want food with nourishment

Ndifuna ukutya okunesondlo

I want to ride in/on a bus

Ndifuna ukukhwela uduladula

I want to sleep

ndifuna ukulala

it is raining

imvula iyana

kneel

guqa ngamadolo

Men inside

Amadoda endlini

mielie meal

umgubo wombona

move forward

hambela phambili

mutton

inyama yegusha

One who appears last

Uvelemva

play the music

ndlala/khalisa umculo

Please show me the house of ...

Ndicela undibonise umzi ka...

pork

inyama yehagu

quiet music

umculo opholileyo

red coal

amalahle abomvu

see you

izakubonana

serve  food

phaka ukudla

sit down

hlala phantsi

stand up

yima ngenyawo

stay well

sala kakuhle

sweetened water

amanzi aneswekile

thank you very much

ndiyabulela kakhulu

The winter is here

ubusika bufikile

undress

khulula impahla

wash your face

hlamba ubuso

weather forecast

uqikelelo lwemozulu

what do you want?

ufuna ntoni?

where are the girls

aphi amantombi?

Where are the older people of the house

Baphi abantu abadala/abakhulu

where do you go to school?

ufunda phi?

where is my girl friend?

iphi intokazi yam?

Where is the meeting?

Iphi imbizo?

where is the sea?

luphi ulwandle?

who do you want?

ufuna bani?

wipe your tears

sula inyembezi

you smell

uyanuka

 

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