Useful phrases in Tumbuka

A collection of useful phrases in Tumbuka, a Bantu language spoken in parts of Malawi and Zambia.

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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: >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.

English chiTumbuka (Tumbuka)
Welcome Tempokani
Hello (General greeting) Monile
Monire a mama (>f)
Monire a dada (>m)
Monire a gogo (>eld)
Monire mose (>pl)
How are you? Muli uli?
Reply to 'How are you?' Nili makola, kwali imwe?
Long time no see  
What's your name? Zina linu ndimwe njani?
My name is ... Zina lane ndine ...
Where are you from?  
I'm from ...  
Pleased to meet you Chatowa kuwonana namwe
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Mwagona uli? (How did you sleep?)
Nauka makola, kwali imwe? (Fine, and you?) - reply
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Mwatandala uli? (How has your day been?)
Natandara makola, kwali imwe? (I had a fine day, how about you?) - reply
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Good night Usiku uwemi (good night)
Mugone makola (sleep well)
(Parting phrases)
Mwende makola (travel well)
Good luck! Viwemi vyose
Cheers! Good Health!
(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? Kasi mukhuyowoya ChiTumbuka?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Nkhuyowoya ChiTumbuka pachoko
I don't speak Tumbuka Ine nkhuyowoya chiTumbuka yayi
How do you say ... in? Mukuti uli ...?
Excuse me Phepani
How much is this? Nizilinga ichi?
Sorry Phepani
Phepani chomene (very sorry)
Please Chonde
Thank you Nawonga chomene (I thank you)
Tawonga chomene (We thank you)
Yewo chomene (Thank you very much)
Reply to thank you Ndimwe wakupokeleka
Palije suzgo
Where's the toilet / bathroom? Chimbuzi chili nkhuni?
This gentleman will pay for everything  
This lady will pay for everything  
Would you like to dance with me?  
I love you Nkhukutemwa
Get well soon  
Leave me alone! Ni lekani!
Help! Novwire!
Fire! Leka!
Call the police!  
Christmas greetings  
Easter greetings  
Birthday greetings  


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