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Useful phrases in Northern Ndebele

A collection of useful phrases in Northern Ndebele, a Bantu language spoken in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.

To see these phrases in many other languages click on the English versions.

Key to abbreviations: sg = singular (said to one person), pl = plural (said to more than one person).

English Sindebele
isiNdebele (Northern Ndebele)
Welcome Siyalemukela
Hello
(General greeting)
Salibonani
How are you? Unjani? (sg) Linjani? (pl)
Reply to 'How are you?' Ngiyaphila (sg) Siyaphila (pl)
Ngikhona (sg) Sikhona (pl)
Unjani wena? (response)
Long time no see Kudala ngakucina
What's your name? Ibizo lakho ngubani?
My name is ... Mina ngingu ...
Where are you from? Uvela ngaphi?
I'm from ... Ngivela e ...
Pleased to meet you Kuhle ukukubona
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Livukile
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Litshonile
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Litshonile
Good night Lilale kuhle
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Lisale kuhle
Good luck Ngikufisela inhlanhla enhle!
Cheers!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Impilo enhle
Have a nice day Ube lelanga elihle
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Udle kuhle
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Hamba kahle
I understand Ngiyezwa
I don't understand Angizwa
I don't know Angazi
Please speak more slowly Khuluma kancene
Please say that again Phinda futhi
Please write it down Bhala phansi
Do you speak English? Uyakhuluma isikhiwa?
Do you speak Northern Ndebele? Uyakhuluma isiNdebele?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Ye. Kancance
How do you say ... in Northern Ndebele? Kuthwani ... ngeSiNdebele?
Excuse me Uxolo
How much is this? Yimalini?
Sorry Uxolo
Please Ngiyacela
Thank you Ngiyabonga
Reply to thank you Kulungile
Where's the toilet? Ingaphi ithwelethi?
This gentleman/lady will pay for everything Uzabhadala konke lo
Would you like to dance with me? Uyafuna ukugida lami?
I miss you Ngiyakukhumbula
I love you Ngiyakuthanda
Get well soon Usile masinya
Go away! Suka! Hamba!
Leave me alone! Akungitshiye!
Help! Nceda!
Fire! Umlilo!
Stop! Mana!
Call the police! Biza ama pholisa!
Christmas and New Year greetings Khisimusi enhle
Umnyaka omuhle
Easter greetings Ista enhle
Birthday greetings Ube lelanga lokuzalwa elihle
One language is never enough Ulimi olulodwa lulutshwana
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
Isikepe sami sigcwele umzowa

Northern Ndebele phrases supplied by Ndhlovu Silile Fein

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

Information about Northern Ndebele | Phrases in Northern Ndebele

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Phrases in other languages