Useful phrases in Northern Ndebele

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

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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), pl = plural (said to more than one person).

Phrase SiNdebele saseNyakatho (Northern Ndebele)
Welcome Siyaliyamukela
Hello (General greeting) Mushade!
How are you? U(n)jani? (sg)
Li(n)jani? (pl / to an elder)
Reply to 'How are you?' Diyaphila (sg)
Siyaphila (pl)
Dikhona (sg)
Sikhona (pl)
Nkhona (sg)
Sikhona (pl)
U(n)jani wena? (response)
Long time no see Nkade dakubona
Nkade ngakuboni
What's your name? Libito lakho (n)gubani?
Litinyo lakho (n)gubani?
My name is ... Libito / Litinyo lami gu ...
Mina digu ...
Where are you from? Uvela kuphi?
Uphuma kuphi?
I'm from ... Divela e ...
Pleased to meet you Nthabele kukubona
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Mushade/Lotjhani, livukile?
Mushade/Lotjhani, lithobele jani?
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Mushade/Lotjhani, lihlwe (n)jani? (sg)
lihlwe (n)jani? (pl / to an elder)
Good night Uthobale kuhle (sg)
Lithobale kuhle (pl / to an elder)
(Parting phrases)
Usale kuhle (sg)
Lisale kuhle (pl / to an elder)
Good luck! Mahlate amahle!
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Buphilo bobuhle!
Have a nice day Ube nella(n)ga lelihle (sg)
Ube nella(n)ga lelihle (pl / to an elder)
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Udle kamuna(n)di! (sg)
Udle kamuna(n)di! (pl / to an elder)
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Ukha(m)bhe kuhle (sg)
Ube neliyedo lelihle (sg)
Likha(m)bhe kuhle (pl / to an elder)
Libe neliyedo lelihle (pl / to an elder)
I don't know Adiyati
I understand Ndiyavisisa
I don't understand Adivisisi
Please speak more slowly Sumela kanghatanyana
Sumela kanghane
Sumayela kanghatanyana
Sumayela kanghane
Please say that again Nku(m)bhela usumele leso ka(m)bhe
Nkhu(m)bhela lisumayele leso ka(m)bhe
Please write it down Gwala pha(n)si
Do you speak English? Usumela sikxhuwa?
Usumayela sikxhuwa?
Do you speak Northern Ndebele? Usumela siNdebele saseNyakatho?
Usumayela siNdebele saseNyakatho?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Yebo. Kanghane
Speak to me in Northern Ndebele Sumela nami geSiNdebele (saseNyakatho)
Sumayela nami geSiNdebele (saseNyakatho)
How do you say ... in Northern Ndebele? Kuthwani ... ngeSiNdebele?
Excuse me Kahle!
Jama bhili!
Nkhubhela ku(n)dlula! (when you want to pass)
Andlule! (when you want to pass)
How much is this? Mbugagi?
Sorry Mphathele
Nkhu(m)bhela mphathelo
Please Dikhu(m)bhela
Thank you Diyalebuka
Reply to thank you Kulu(n)gile
Where's the toilet / bathroom? Ikuphi ndlwana?
This gentleman will pay for everything Lisokana leli litabhadelela tokxe
This lady will pay for everything Muthembana lo utabhadelela tokxe
Nkxosatana le itabhadelela tokxe
Would you like to dance with me? Ufuna kubina nami?
Ufuna kuthagela nami?
Ufuna kurida nami?
Do you come here often? Uta la kanyeti?
I miss you Diyakukhu(m)bhula
I love you Diyakutha(n)da
Get well soon Uphole ga(m)bhila
Go away! Suka!
Leave me alone! Nsukele! (sg)
Nsukeleni! (reply to an elder or more than one person)
Help! Sita!
Fire! Mullo!
Stop! Jama!
Call the police! Bita maphodisa!
Christmas greetings Nkhresimusi ehle neMunyaka omutjha omuhle
New Year greetings
Easter greetings Mukhosi weMbhasinga omuhle
Birthday greetings Ube nelilla(n)ga lelihle lemabeletho (sg)
Libe nelilla(n)ga lelihle lemabeletho (pl)
One language is never enough Lilimi linye ligasivuki ligayanele
How was your day? Uhlwe jani (sg)
Lihlwe jani? (pl)
What time is it? Nnago bani?
When will you see us again? Uto sibona nini ka(m)bhe?
When will we see you again? Sito kubona nini ka(m)bhe?
Pass my greetings Umulotjhise (sg)
Ubalotjhise (pl)
Where do you work? Uberega kuphi?
Usebenta kuphi?
Where are you going? Uyakuphi? (sg) (Uya'phi?)
Liyakuphi? (pl) (Liya'phi?)
We are going to ... Diya e ... (sg)
Siya e ...(pl)
Where do you live? Uhlala kuphi? (Uhlala'phi?)
I am looking for ... Nfuna ....
How do I get to ... Diyajani e ...
Where is the road to ... Ndlela yekuya e ... ikuphi?
Where do I board a bus/taxi? Nkhwela kuphi mbhese/nteksi?
How do I stop a taxi to town? Njamisa jani nteksi yekuya etirojeni?
Where is the nearest shop/store? Libengela leli likudute likuphi?
Libengela lakudute likuphi?
Where do I buy ... Nthe(n)ga kuphi ...
How much is this? Mbugagi?
Where can I sleep? Ngathobala kuphi?
Where is the nearest hotel? Nhotele yakudute ikuphi?
Where is the nearest bank? Mbhanka yakudute ikuphi?
Where is the nearest ATM? Mutjhini wentjhelede osedute ukuphi?
Where is the nearest hospital? Sibhedlela sikuphi?
How is the place? Ndawo yakhona i(n)jani?
Where is the hospital? Sibhedlela sikuphi?
Where can I find a doctor? Ngafumana kuphi nnyaga (yesikxhuwa)?
Can I have water please? Nkhu(m)bhela mma(n)ti.
Where can I see wild animals? Ngabona kuphi tinyamatana?
Where can I see wild animals? Ngabona kuphi tinyamatana?
Is it safe here? Kubulugekile lapho?

Northern Ndebele (South Africa) phrases supplied by Dr Plaatjie Mahlobogoane (Ph.D.)

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 of South Africa | Phrases | Tower of Babel

Phrases in Bantu languages

Bemba, Chichewa, Chokwe, Duala, Herero, Kikuyu, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Lozi, Luganda, Ndebele (Northern - South Africa), Ndebele (Northern - Zimbabwe), Ndebele (Southern) Nkore, Northern Sotho, Oshiwambo, Shona, Southern Sotho (seSotho), Swahili, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Tumbuka, Umbundu, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu

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