A collection of useful phrases in Tumbuka. You can see them in many other languages by clicking on the English versions.
Key to abbreviations: >m = said to men, >f = said to women, >eld = said to old people, >pl = said to more than one person
If you can help fill in the gaps on this page, please contact me.
|Monile / Monire a mama (>f) Monire a dada (>m)
Monire a gogo (>eld) Monire mose (>pl)
|How are you?
I'm fine, thanks. And you?
|Nili makola, kwali imwe?|
|Long time no see|
|What's your name?
My name is ...
|Zina linu ndimwe njani?|
|Zina lane ndine ...|
|Where are you from?
I'm from ...
|Pleased to meet you||Chatowa kuwonana namwe|
|Morning greeting(s)||Mwagona uli? (How did you sleep?)
Reply: Nauka makola, kwali imwe? (Fine, and you?)
|Afternoon greeting(s)||Mwatandala uli? (How has your day been?)
Reply: Natandara makola, kwali imwe? (I had a fine day, how about you?)
|Nighttime parting phrase(s)||Usiku uwemi (good night) Mugone makola (sleep well)|
|Parting phrase(s)||Paweme / Mwende makola (travel well)|
|Good luck||Viwemi vyose|
|Toasts used when drinking|
|Have a nice day|
|Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
|Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
|I don't understand||Nkhupulika yayi|
|Please speak more slowly|
|Please say that again|
|Please write it down|
|Do you speak Tumbuka?
I speak a little Tumbuka
|Kasi mukhuyowoya ChiTumbuka?|
|Nkhuyowoya ChiTumbuka pachoko|
|I don't speak Tumbuka||Ine nkhuyowoya chiTumbuka yayi|
|How do you say ...||Mukuti uli ...?|
|How much is this?||Nizilinga ichi?|
|Sorry||Phepani / Phepani chomene (very sorry)|
|Please||Chonde / Nabeya|
|Nawonga chomene (I thank you)
Tawonga chomene (We thank you)
Yewo chomene (Thank you very much) / Yewo
|Ndimwe wakupokeleka / Palije suzgo|
|Where's the toilet?||Chimbuzi chili nkhuni?|
|This gentleman/lady will pay for everything|
|Would you like to dance with me?|
|I love you||Nkhukutemwa|
|Get well soon|
|Leave me alone!||Ni lekani!|
|Call the police!|
|Christmas and New Year greetings|
If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.