Useful phrases in Khoekhoe (Nama)

A collection of useful phrases in Khoekhoe (Nama), a Khoisan language spoken in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

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See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

Key to abbreviations: frm = formal, inf = informal, sg = singular (said to one person), dl = dual (said to two people), pl = plural (said to more than two person), m = male (said to males), f = female (said to females), cm = common (said to anybody)

English Khoekhoegowab (Khoekhoe / Nama)
Welcome ǁKhoreǁhare.
Hello (General greeting) Halau
Hello (on phone)
How are you? Matisa? (inf)
Mîre? (frm)
Reply to 'How are you?' !Gâia gangans matisa? (sg)
!Gâia gangans matisa kho? (m/dl)
!Gâia gangans matisa ro? (fm/dl)
!Gâia gangans matisa ro? (cm/dl)
!Gâia gangans matisa du? (f/cm/pl)
!Gâia gangans matisa go? (m/pl)
!Gâia gangans matisa so? (fm/pl)
Long time no see ǀHawe ǁae-e ta ge mû si tama hâ (fm/sg)
ǀHawe ǁae-e ta ge mû tsi tama hâ (m/sg)
ǀHawe ǁae-e ta ge mû ro tama hâ (cm/dl)
ǀHawe ǁae-e ta ge mû ro tama hâ (fm/dl)
ǀHawe ǁae-e ta ge mû kho tama hâ (m/dl)
ǀHawe ǁae-e ta ge mû du tama hâ (f/cm/pl)
ǀHawe ǁae-e ta ge mû go tama hâ (m/pl)
ǀHawe ǁae-e ta ge mû so tama hâ (fm/dl)
What's your name? Matis ǀen hâ? (fm/sg)
Matits ǀen hâ? (m/sg)
Mati ro ǀen hâ? (cm/dl)
Mati ro ǀen hâ? (fm/dl)
Mati kho ǀen hâ? (m/dl)
Mati du ǀen hâ? (f/cm/pl)
Mati go ǀen hâ? (m/pl)
Mati so ǀen hâ? (fm/pl)
My name is ... Ti ǀens ge a ...
Our names are ... Sim ǀenra ge a ... tsî ... (cm/dl)
Sim ǀenra ge a .... tsî ... (fm/dl)
Sikhom ǀenra ge a ... tsî ... (m/dl)
Sida ǀendi ge a ... tsî ... (cm/pl)
Sige ǀendi ge a ... tsî ... (m/pl)
Sise ǀendi ge a ... tsî ... (fm/pl)
Where are you from? Maba xus ta ǀkhi? (fm/sg)
Maba xuts ta ǀkhi? (m/sg)
Maba xu ro ra ǀkhi? (cm/dl)
Maba xu ro ra ǀkhi? (fm/dl)
Maba xu kho ra ǀkhi? (m/dl)
Maba xu du ra ǀkhi? (cm/pl)
Maba xu go ra ǀkhi? (m/pl)
Maba xu so ra ǀkhi? (fm/pl)
I'm from ... Tita ge ...(-aǀ-baǀ-sa) xu ra ǀkhi. (cm/sg)
We are from ... Sim ge ...(-aǀ-baǀ-sa) xu ra ǀkhi. (cm/dl)
Sim ge ...(-aǀ-baǀ-sa) xu ra ǀkhi. (fm/dl)
Sikhom ge ...(saǀ-baǀ-sa) xu ra ǀkhi. (m/dl)
Sida ge ...(-aǀ-baǀ-sa) xu ra ǀkhi. (cm/pl)
Sige ge ...(-aǀ-baǀ-sa) xu ra ǀkhi. (m/pl)
Sise ge ...(-aǀ-baǀ-sa) xu ra ǀkhi. (fm/pl)
(-a) town/city ending on consonant
(-ba) country ending on vowel
(-sa) town/city ending on vowel
Pleased to meet you !Gâi ǂangus.
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
!Gâi ǁgoas.
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
!Gâi tse!gâǁaeb.
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
!Gâi !oes.
Good night !Gâi !oes. ("sleep well")
(Parting phrases)
Said to those departing
!Gâise !gûre (sg)
!Gâise ro !gû re. (cm/dl)
!Gâise ro !gû re. (fm/dl)
!Gâise kho !gû re. (m/dl)
!Gâise du !gû re. (f/cm/pl)
!Gâise go !gû re. (m/pl)
!Gâise so !gû re. (fm/pl)
Said to those staying
!Gâise hâ re. (sg)
!Gâise ro hâ re. (cm/dl)
!Gâise ro hâ re. (fm/dl)
!Gâise kho hâ re. (m/dl)
!Gâise du hâ re. (f/cm/pl)
!Gâise go hâ re. (m/pl)
!Gâise so hâ re. (fm/pl)
Good luck! !Gâi!gâb.
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Have a nice day !Gâi tses uhâ re.
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
!Gâi ǂûs
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
!Gâi daoba ūhâ re
I understand ǁNâu!a ta ge ra.
I don't understand ǁNâu!a tama ta ge hâ.
Yes Î.
No Hî-î.
Maybe ǀNîsi
I don't know ǀU ta a.
Please speak more slowly ǂAuse toxoba !hoa re
Please say that again ǁKhawa mî re
Please write it down Toxoba xoa re
Do you speak English? Hurigowabas ta !hoa. (fm/sg)
Hurigowbats ta !hoa. (m/sg)
Hurigowaba ro ra !hoa. (cm/dl)
Hurigowaba ro ra !hoa. (fm/dl)
Hurigowaba kho ra !hoa. (m/dl)
Hurigowaba du ra !hoa. (cm/pl)
Hurigowaba go ra !hoa. (m/pl)
Hurigowaba so ra !hoa. (fm/pl)
Do you speak Khoekhoe? Khoekhoegowabas ta !hoa? (fm/sg)
Khoekhoegowabats ta !hoa? (m/sg)
Khoekhoegowaba ro ra !hoa? (cm/dl)
Khoekhoegowaba ro ra !hoa? (fm/dl)
Khoekhoegowaba kho ra !hoa? (m/dl)
Khoekhoegowaba du ra !hoa? (f/cm/pl)
Khoekhoegowaba go ra !hoa? (m/pl)
Khoekhoegowaba so ra !hoa? (fm/pl)
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Î, ǂkharirose.
Speak to me in Khoekhoe Khoekhoegowab !nâ !hoa-u te re.
How do you say ... in Khoekhoe? Matis ta ...-sa khoekhoegowab !nâ mî. (fm/sg)
Matits ta ...-sa khoekhoegowab !nâ mî. (m/sg)
Mati ro ra ...-sa khoekhoegowab !nâ mî. (cm/dl)
Mati ro ra ...-sa khoekhoegowab !nâ mî. (fm/dl)
Mati kho ra ...-sa khoekhoegowab !nâ mî. (m/dl)
Mati du ra ...-sa khoekhoegowab !nâ mî. (f/cm/pl)
Mati go ra ...-sa khoekhoegowab !nâ mî. (m/pl)
Mati so ra ...-sa khoekhoegowab !nâ mî. (fm/pl)
Excuse me ǁGawaǁaegu te.
How much is this? Matiko e ra ǂgan?
Sorry ǀÛba te.
Please Toxoba
Thank you Gangans.
Reply to thank you Aios.
Where's the toilet / bathroom? ǂKhari-omsa maba hâ?
This gentleman will pay for everything Ne khoeb ge hoa xuna ni matere
This lady will pay for everything Ne khoes ge ni hoa xuna matare ba.
Would you like to dance with me? Ti ǀkhas ta ǂna ǂgao? (fm/sg)
Ti ǀkhats ta ǂna ǂgao? (m/sg)
Ti ǀkha ro ra ǂna ǂgao? (cm/dl)
Ti ǀkha ro ra ǂna ǂgao? (fm/dl)
Ti ǀkha kho ra ǂna ǂgao? (m/dl)
Ti ǀkha du ra ǂna ǂgao? (f) (cm/pl)
Ti ǀkha go ra ǂna ǂgao? (m/pl)
Ti ǀkha so ra ǂna ǂgao? (fm/pl)
I miss you
I love you ǀNamsi ta ge a. (fm/sg)
ǀNamtsi ta ge a. (m/sg)
ǀNam ro ta ge a. (cm/dl)
ǀNam ro ta ge a. (fm/dl)
ǀNam kho ta ge a. (m/dl)
ǀNam du ta ge a. (f/cm/pl)
ǀNam go ta ge a. (m/pl)
ǀNam so ta ge a. (fm/pl)
Get well soon !Haese ǂgau re.
Go away! !Gûxu te
Leave me alone! (ǁNa)Xu te.
Help! Hui te!
Fire! ǀAesa!
Stop! ǀÛ!
Call the police! ǀAwa!namga ǂgai!
Christmas greetings !Gâi!gâxa !khub!naes tsî ǀkhaehesa ǀasa kurib.
Easter greetings
Birthday greetings !Gâi!gâxa !naetses
One language is never enough ǀGui gowa-i ge tatse ǂâusa tama hâ.
My hovercraft is full of eels

Phrases supplied by Gaob Richard Kawango'b and Emelina M. Eichas

Download the audio files (Zip format, 323K)

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

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