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Useful Zulu phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Zulu, a Bantu language spoken mainly in 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).

English isiZulu (Zulu)
Welcome Ngiyakwemukela (sg)
Ngiyanemukela (pl)
Hello (General greeting) Sawubona (sg)
Sanibonani (pl)
How are you? Unjani? (sg)
Ninjani? (pl)
Reply to 'How are you?' Ngikhona, ngiyabonga. Wena unjani? (sg)
Sikhona, siyabonga. Nina ninjani? (pl)
Long time no see Mehlo madala! (old eyes)
What's your name? Ngubani igama lakho?
My name is ... Igama lami ngu...
Where are you from? Uphumaphi?
Uvelaphi?
I'm from ... Ngiphuma e ...
Ngivela e ...
Pleased to meet you Ngiyajabula ukukwazi
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Sawubona (sg)
Sanibonani (pl)
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Sawubona (sg)
Sanibonani (pl)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Sawubona (sg)
Sanibonani (pl)
Good night Lala kahle! (sg)
Lalani kahle! (pl)
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Sala kahle (sg) >people staying
Salani kahle (pl) >people staying
Hamba kahle (sg) >people leaving
Hambani kahle (pl) >people leaving
Ube no hambo uluhle
Good luck! Ngikufisela iwela!
Ngikufisela impumelelo!
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Impilontle!
Akubekuhle!
Have a nice day Ube nosuku oluhle! (sg)
Nibe nosulu ulohle! (pl)
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Thokoleza ukudla!
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Ube nohambo oluhle!
Yes Yebo
No Cha
Maybe Mhlawumbe
I don't know Angazi
Do you understand? Uyezwa?
I understand Ngiyaqonda
I don't understand Angizwa
Please speak more slowly Ngicela ukhulume kancane
Please say that again Ukwazi ukukuthi futhi na?
Please write it down Ngicela ukubhale
Do you speak English? Ukhuluma isiNgisi na?
Do you speak Zulu? Ukhuluma isiZulu na?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Yebo, ingcosana
Speak to me in Zulu Ngicela ukhulume nami ngesiZulu
How do you say ... in Zulu? ... ukusho kanjani ngesiZulu?
Sorry Ngiyaxolisa
Excuse me Uxolo!
How much is this? Kubiza malini?
Please Ake
Ngicela
Siza
Thank you Ngiyabonga
Ngiyabonga kakhulu (sg)
Siyabonga (pl)
Reply to thank you Uyamukelwa (sg)
Niyamukelwa (pl)
Where's the toilet / bathroom? Likuphi ikamelo lokugezela?
Likuphi itholethe?
This gentleman will pay for everything Umnumzana uzokhokha konke
This lady will pay for everything Inenekazi lizokhokha konke
Would you like to dance with me? Uthanda ukudansa nami?
Do you come here often? Ingabe uze lapha ngokuvamile?
I love you Ngiyakuthanda
Get well soon Phila masinya
Leave me alone! Ndiyekele!
Help! Usizo!
Fire! Umlilo!
Stop! Ma!
Call the police! Biza amaphoyisa!
Christmas greetings Jabulele uKhisimusi
Ngikufisela uKhisimusi
New Year greetings oMuhle noNyaka oMusha oNempumelelo
Ngikufisela Unyaka Omusha Omuhle
Unyaka omusha omuhle
Easter greetings IPhasika elijabulayo
IPhasika elithokozayo
Birthday greetings Halala ngosuku lokuzalwa
One language is never enough Ulwimi ululodwa alonelanga
My hovercraft is full of eels Umkhumbi wami ugcwele ngenyoka zemanzini

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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