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Useful Zulu phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Zulu, a Bantu language spoken mainly in South Africa

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

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

English isiZulu (Zulu)
Welcome Ngiyakwemukela (sg)
Ngiyanemukela (pl)
Hello
(General greeting)
Sawubona (sg)
Sanibonani (pl)
How are you? Unjani? (sg)
Ninjani? (pl)
Reply to 'How are you?' Ngikhona, ngiyabonga. Wena unjani? (sg)
Sikhona, siyabonga. Nina ninjani? (pl)
Long time no see Mehlo madala! (old eyes)
What's your name? Ngubani igama lakho?
My name is ... Igama lami ngu...
Where are you from? Uphumaphi?
Uvelaphi?
I'm from ... Ngiphuma e ...
Ngivela e ...
Pleased to meet you Ngiyajabula ukukwazi
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Sawubona (sg)
Sanibonani (pl)
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Sawubona (sg)
Sanibonani (pl)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Sawubona (sg)
Sanibonani (pl)
Good night Lala kahle! (sg)
Lalani kahle! (pl)
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Sala kahle (sg) >people staying
Salani kahle (pl) >people staying
Hamba kahle (sg) >people leaving
Hambani kahle (pl) >people leaving
Ube no hambo uluhle
Good luck Ngikufisela iwela!
Ngikufisela impumelelo!
Cheers!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Impilontle!
Akubekuhle!
Have a nice day Ube nosuku oluhle! (sg)
Nibe nosulu ulohle! (pl)
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Thokoleza ukudla!
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Ube nohambo oluhle!
I understand Ngiyaqonda
I don't understand Angizwa
Yes Yebo
No Cha
Maybe Mhlawumbe
I don't know Angazi
Please speak more slowly Ngicela ukhulume kancane
Please say that again Ukwazi ukukuthi futhi na?
Please write it down Ngicela ukubhale
Do you speak English? Ukhuluma isiNgisi na?
Do you speak Zulu? Ukhuluma isiZulu na?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Yebo, ingcosana
Speak to me in Zulu Ngicela ukhulume nami ngesiZulu
How do you say ... in Zulu? ... ukusho kanjani ngesiZulu?
Sorry Ngiyaxolisa
Excuse me Uxolo!
How much is this? Kubiza malini?
Please Ake; Ngicela; Siza
Thank you Ngiyabonga
Ngiyabonga kakhulu (sg)
Siyabonga (pl)
Reply to thank you Uyamukelwa (sg)
Niyamukelwa (pl)
Where's the toilet? Likuphi ikamelo lokugezela?
Likuphi itholethe?
This gentleman will pay for everything Umnumzana uzokhokha konke
This lady will pay for everything Inenekazi lizokhokha konke
Would you like to dance with me? Uthanda ukudansa nami?
I love you Ngiyakuthanda
Get well soon Phila masinya
Leave me alone! Ndiyekele!
Help! Usizo!
Fire! Umlilo!
Stop! Ma!
Call the police! Biza amaphoyisa!
Christmas and New Year greetings Ngikufisela uKhisimusi oMuhle noNyaka oMusha oNempumelelo
Easter greetings IPhasika elijabulayo
IPhasika elithokozayo
Birthday greetings Halala ngosuku lokuzalwa
One language is never enough Ulwimi ululodwa alonelanga
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
Umkhumbi wami ugcwele ngenyoka zemanzini

Recordings and corrections by Cynthia Nozwelo

Download all the sound files (1.2 MB)

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me. You can make recordings on you computer, tablet, phone or other device and email them to me. Audacity is a good, free sound recorder and editor. You can also make them online at online-voice-recorder.com, or similar sites.

Information about Zulu | Useful phrases in Zulu | Tower of Babel in Zulu | Zulu learning materials

Links

Other collections of Zulu phrases
http://www.phrasebase.com/forum/read.php?TID=7760
http://www.linguanaut.com/english_zulu.htm
http://www.cyberserv.co.za/users/~jako/lang/zulwrd.htm
http://africanlanguages.com/zulu/
http://www.codezulu.com/isizulu.asp
http://saharanvibe.blogspot.com/2007/03/zulu-language.html

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Phrases in other languages