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Useful Shona phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Shona, a Bantu language spoken mainly in Zimbabwe.

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

English chiShona (Shona)
Welcome Mauya
Hello (General greeting) Mhoro (sg)
Mhoroi (pl)
How are you? Wakadini zvako? (sg)
Makadini zvenyu? (pl)
Reply to 'How are you?' Ndiri rayiti
Ndiripo
Long time no see Ko, vemakore!
What's your name? Unonzani? (sg)
Munonzani? (pl)
My name is ... Ndinonzi ...
Zita rangu i ...
Where are you from? Unobva kupi? (sg)
Munobva kupi?? (pl)
I'm from ... Ndinobva ku ...
Pleased to meet you Ndafara kukuziva (sg)
Ndafara kukuzivai (pl)
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Mangwanani
Mangwanani, marara sei? (reply)
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Masikati
Masikati, maswera sei? (reply)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Manheru
Maswera sei (reply)
Good night Urare zvakanaka (sg)
Murare Zvakanaka (pl)
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Sara Zvakanaka (sg)
Sariayi Zvakanaka (pl)
Good luck! Uve nemhanza yakanaka (sg)
Muve nemhanza yakanaka (pl)
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
 
Have a nice day Uve nezuva rakanaka (sg)
Muve nezuva rakanaka (pl)
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Mudye kunaka
Mafidyongo
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Ufambe zvakanaka (sg)
Mufambe zvakanaka (pl)
Do you understand? Munonzvisisa here?
I understand Ndinonzvisisa
I don't understand Handisi kunyaso nzwisisa
Please speak more slowly Ndinokumbirawo kuti musakurumidze kutaura
Please say that again Ndinokumbirawo kuti muzvitaure futi
Please write it down Ndinokumbirawo kuti muzvinyore pasi
Do you speak ...? Unotaura ...? (sg)
Munotaura ...? (pl)
How do you say ... in Shona?  
Excuse me Pamusoro (sg)
Pamusoroyi (pl)
How much is this? Chinoita marii?
Sorry Ndineurombo
Thank you Waita zvako (sg)
Maita zvenyu (pl)
Reply to thank you Unotendei?
Zvakanaka
Where's the toilet / bathroom? Chimbuzi chiripi?
This gentleman will pay for everything Baba ava ndivo vachabhadhara
This lady will pay for everything Amai ava ndivo vachabhadhara
Would you like to dance with me? Ungande kutamba? (sg)
Mungade kutamba? (pl)
I love you Ndinokuda
Get well soon Ndinovimba kuti uchakurumidza kupora (sg)
Ndinovimba kuti muchakurumidza kupora (pl)
Leave me alone! Ndisiye!
Help! Ndibatsireiwo!
Fire! Moto!
Stop! Mira!
Call the police! Daiidzayi mapurisa!
Christmas greetings Muve nekisimusi
New Year greetings Goredzva zvakanaka
Easter greetings  
Birthday greetings Uve nezuva rakanaka rekuzvarwa
Uve nebhavhadhe rakanaka
Congratulations! Makorokoto!
One language is never enough Rurimi rumwe haruzadzikisa mutauro
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
Hovercraft yangu yakazara nemikunga

Shona phrases provided by Emma Thembani, Paida Magiga and Ernest Mdende

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

Information about Shona | Phrases | Tower of Babel

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Phrases in other languages


If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.

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