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Useful Xhosa phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Xhosa, a Bantu language spoken mainly in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State and Northern Cape in South Africa, and also in Botswana and Lesotho.

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

Jump to phrases

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.

English isiXhosa (Xhosa)
Welcome Wamkelekile (sg)
Namkelekile (pl)
Hello (General greeting) Molo (sg)
Molweni (pl)
How are you? Unjani? (sg)
Ninjani? (pl)
Reply to 'How are you?' Ndiphilile enkosi, unjani wena? (sg)
Ndiphilile enkosi, ninjani nina? (pl)
Long time no see Kudala sagqibelana
'Mehlo madala
Ingc' inde
What's your name? Ngubani igama lakho?
Lithini igama lakho?
My name is ... Igama lam ngu ...
Where are you from? Uvela phi? (sg)
Usuka phi? (sg)
Nivela phi? (pl)
Nisuka phi? (pl)
I'm from ... Ndivela e ...
Ndisuka e ...
Pleased to meet you Ndiyavuya ukukwazi (sg)
Ndiyavuya ukunazi (pl)
Good day Molo (sg)
Molweni (pl)
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Molo (sg)
Molweni (pl)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Molo (sg)
Molweni (pl)
Good night Ulale kakuhle (sg)
Nilale kakuhle (pl)
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Hamba kakuhle (go well) - sg
Sala kakuhle (stay well) - sg
Hambani kakuhle (go well) - pl
Salani kakuhle (stay well) - pl
Good luck! Ube nethamsanqa! (pl)
Nibe nethamsanqa! (pl)
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Impilo!
Have a nice day Ube nemini emnandi (sg)
Nibe nemini emnandi (pl)
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Ukonwabele ukutya kwakho (sg)
Nikonwabele ukutya kwenu (pl)
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
'Ndlelantle
Ube nohambo oluhle (sg)
Nibe nohambo oluhle (pl)
Do you understand? Uyaqonda?
I understand Ndiyaqonda
I don't understand Andiqondi
Yes Ewe
No Hayi
Maybe Mhlawumbi
I don't know Andazi
Please speak more slowly Nceda uthethe ngokucothisa
Please say that again Ndicela uphinde (sg)
Khawuphinde utsho (sg)
Please write it down Ndicela uyibhale phantsi (sg)
Ndicela niyibhale phantsi (pl)
Do you speak Xhosa? Uyakwazi ukuthetha isiXhosa? (sg)
Niyakwazi ukuthetha isiXhosa? (pl)
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Ewe, kancinci
Do you speak English? Uyakwazi ukuthetha isiNgesi? (sg)
Niyakwazi ukuthetha isiNgesi? (pl)
How do you say ... in Xhosa? Uthini xa ufuna ukuthi ... ngesiXhosa?
Yintoni ... ngesiXhosa?
Excuse me Uxolo!
Ndixolele!
Forgive me Ndixolele
How much is this? Yimalini le nto?
Ibiza malini le nto?
Sorry Uxolo
Ndicela uxolo
Ndiyaxolisa
Please Ndiyacela
Nceda
Thank you Ndiyabulela
Enkosi
Reply to thank you Wamkelekile (sg)
Namkelekile (pl)
Where's the toilet / bathroom? Liphi igumbi langasese?
This gentleman will pay for everything Eli nene liza kubhatala yonke into
This lady will pay for everything Eli nenekazi liza kubhatala yonke into
Would you like to dance with me? Ungathanda ukudanisa nam?
I love you Ndiyakuthanda
Get well soon Uphile kamsinyane
Leave me alone! Ndiyeke!
Help! Nceda!
Fire! Umlilo!
Stop! Yima!
Call the police! Biza amapolisa!
Christmas greetings Ube neKrismesi emyoli (sg)
Nibe neKrismesi emyoli (pl)
iKrisimesi emnandi
Ndiyakunqwenelela iKrisimesi emnandi (sg)
Ndiyaninqwenelela iKrisimesi emnandi (pl)
New Year greetings Halala kulonyaka omtsha
noNyaka omTsha ozele lithamsanqa
Birthday greetings Wonwabele usuku lwakho lokuzalwa
Ube nosuku lokuzalwa olumnandi
'Mini emnandi kuwe
Congratulations! Vuyiswa!
One language is never enough Ulwimi olunye alwanelanga tu
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
Inqwelo etshitshiliza phezu kwamanzi izele ziipalanga

Hear some Xhosa phrases:


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