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Chibemba phrasebook

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Chibemba or Bemba is a Bantu language spoken in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and southern Tanzania. It is the biggest ethnic grouping in Zambia, accounting for over 50% of the Zambian population.

Bemba people (Ababemba) trace their origin from "KOLA" in Angola. The writing system is very phonetic and Spanish speakers would find it very easy to learn. Many Bemba words can also be found in Swahili.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Vowels[edit]

a e i o u

Consonants[edit]

Common diphthongs[edit]

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs


OPEN - Isula
CLOSED - Isala
ENTRANCE - Ubwingililo, Umwinshi wakwingililapo
EXIT 
Umulompokelo, Umwinshi wa kufuminapo
PUSH 
Sunka
PULL 
Tinta
TOILET 
Icimbusu
MEN 
Abaume
WOMEN 
Abanakashi
FORBIDDEN 
Icaleshiwa, ico bakanya
Hello. 
. (Muli shani )
Hello. (informal
. (Uli shani )
How are you? 
Muli shani ?
Fine, thank you. 
Ndi fye bwino, natolela
What is your name? 
Niwe nani ishina?
My name is ______ . 
______ . (Ishina lyandi ni ne _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
. (chawama ukukumona)
Please. 
Napapata,ndekulomba
Thank you. 
Natotela
You're welcome. 
. (Eya mukwai )
Yes. 
. (Ee )
No. 
. Awe / Iyoo
Excuse me. Njelelako(getting attention)
Oti, Otini
Excuse me. (begging pardon) 
. (mukwai )
I'm sorry. 
. (Mbelelako uluse; mukwai
Goodbye 
. (Shalenipo; Kafikenio
Goodbye (informal
. (shalapo )
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
[ ]. (Nshaishiba iciBemba sana)
Do you speak English? 
? (Walishiba icisungu ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
 ? (bushe pali uwaishiba ukulanda ichisungu pano ?)
Help! 
! (ngafweniko !)
Look out! 
! (moneni uko !)
Good morning (afternoon). 
. Mwashibukeni, 'mwabombeni ( when the person is busy')
Good evening. 
. (chungulopo mukwai )
Good night. 
. (sendamenipo )
Good night (to sleep
. (sendamenipo naya mukutuusha )
I don't understand. 
. (nshumfwikishe bwino )
Where is the toilet? 
? ( ku chimbusu nikwisa?)
Please speak slowly 
(landa panono panono)

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone. 
. ( ndeka fye.)
Don't touch me! 
! (wilanjikatamo !)
I'll call the police. 
. (nalaita ba kapokola .)
Police! 
 ! (Ba kapokola !)
Stop! Thief! 
 ! ! (kabolala uyo ! mwikateni!)
I need your help. 
. (njafweniko .)
It's an emergency. 
. ( ndi mu bwafya.)
I'm lost. 
. ( ni nduba.)
I lost my bag. 
. (ni ndufya icola .)
I lost my wallet. 
. (ni ndufya walleti .): (ni dufya icikwama)
I am sick
. ( nindwala.)
. (ni njichena .)
. (ndefwaikwa shinganga/ dokota .)
Can I use your phone? 
 ? (kuti nabomfyako lamya/ foni yenu ?)

Numbers[edit]

1
(kamo or cimo )
(fibili or tubili )
(tutatu or fitatu )
(cine )
(cisana )
( mutanda)
(cine lubali )
(cine konse konse )
(pabula )
10 
( ikumi)
11 
( ikumi na kamo)
12 
(ikumi na tubili )
13 
(ikumi na tutatu )
14 
(ikumi na tune )
15 
(ikumi na tusano )
16 
(ikumi na mutanda )
17 
( ikumi na cine lubali)
18 
(ikumi na cine konse konse )
19 
(ikumi na pabula )
20 
(ama kumi yabili )
21 
(ama kumi yabili na kamo )
22 
( ama kumi yabili na tutatu)
23 
(ama kumi yabili na tutatu )
30 
( ama kumi yatatu)
40 
(amakumi cine )
50 
(amakumi yasano )
60 
(amakumi mutanda )
70 
(amakumi pabula )
80 
(Amakumi cine konse konse)
90 
(Amakumi pabula)
100 
(Umwanda umo)
200 
(Imyanda ibili)
300 
(Imyanda itatu)
1,000 
(Ikana limo)
2,000 
(Amakana yabili)
1,000,000 
(Amakana ikana limo)
1,000,000,000 
(Iminshipendwa)
1,000,000,000,000 
( )
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) 
( )
half 
(pakati, citika)
less 
(ukucepako)
more 
(ukucilapo, lundenipo )

Time[edit]

now 
( nombaline)
later 
( )
before 
( )
morning 
(ulucelo )
afternoon 
(akasuba )
evening 
(icungulo )
night 
( ubushiku)

Clock time[edit]

one o'clock AM 
( )
two o'clock AM 
( )
noon 
( )
one o'clock PM 
( )
two o'clock PM 
( )
midnight 
( )

Duration[edit]

_____ minute(s) 
( )
_____ hour(s) 
( insa)
_____ day(s) 
(ubushiku )
_____ week(s) 
(umulungu )
_____ month(s) 
(umweshi )
_____ year(s) 
(umwaka )

Days[edit]

today 
(lelo )
yesterday 
(mailo )
tomorrow 
(mailo )
this week 
(uno mulungu )
last week 
(uyu mulungu wapwile )
next week 
(uyu mulungu uleisa )
Sunday 
(pa Sondo ): (pa mulungu)
Monday 
(pali cimo )
Tuesday 
(pali cibili )
Wednesday 
(pali citatu )
Thursday 
(pali cine )
Friday 
(pali cisano )
Saturday 
(pa cibelushi )

Months[edit]

January 
(Akabengele kanono)
February 
(Akabengele kakalamba)
March 
(Kutumpu)
April 
(Shinde )
May 
(Akapepo Kanono)
June 
(Akapepo Kakalamba)
July 
(Cikungulu pepo)
August 
(Kasakantobo)
September 
(Ulusuba lunono)
October 
(Lusuba lukalamba (Langashe)
November 
(Chinshikubili)
December 
(Mupundu-milimo)

Writing time and date[edit]

Colors[edit]

black 
(ukufita )
white 
( ukubuta)
gray 
(ukufitulukila)
red 
( ukukashika)
blue 
(makumbi makumbi )
yellow 
(mutuntula )
green 
(katapa katapa )
orange 
( )
purple 
( kolokondwe)
brown 
( )

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____? 
( tiketi ku Mpika ni shinga?)
One ticket to _____, please. 
( Mpeniko tiketi imo)
Where does this train/bus go? 
(Saca ileya kwi? )
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
( )
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
(bushe iyi train/bus ile minina mu_________? )
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
(bushe ni nshita nshi yala ima train/bus? )
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
(bushe ni nshita nshi yala fika train/bus )

Directions[edit]

How do I get to _____ ? 
( Bushe kuti naenda shani pakuya ku......)
...the train station? 
(Ichitesheni ce shitima)
...the bus station? 
(Citesheni ca saca)
...the airport? 
(Cibansa ca ndeke)
...downtown? 
(Kwisamba lya musumba)
...the youth hostel? 
(My ng'anda ya beni imisepela)
...the _____ hotel? 
( )
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
( )
Where are there a lot of... 
(Bushe kwalibako ...)
...hotels? 
(Amayanda ya beni?)
...restaurants? 
(Amayanda ya kulilamo?)
...bars? 
(Ifikulwa fya bwalwa?)
...sites to see? 
(Incende sha kumona?)
Can you show me on the map? 
(Nangako pali mapu wa calo)
street 
(Mumusebo)
Turn left. 
(Pilibukila ku kuso )
Turn right. 
(Pilibukila ku kulyo )
left 
(ukuso )
right 
( ukulyo)
straight ahead 
(Ukuya fye ukwabula ukupilibukila kukulyo nelyo kukuso)
towards the _____ 
(Ukupalamina mupepi na ...)
past the _____ 
(Ukucilako pa ...)
before the _____ 
(pantanshi ya ...)
Watch for the _____. 
(Lolesha kuli ...)
intersection 
(Amakumanino)
north 
(Akabanga)
south 
(Amasamba)
east 
(Akapinda ka kukulyo)
west 
(Akapinda ka kukuso)
uphill 
(ku mulundu )
downhill 
(ku mukunkuluko )

Taxi[edit]

Taxi! 
( )
Take me to _____, please. 
( )
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
( )
Take me there, please. 
( )

Lodging[edit]

Do you have any rooms available? 
( )
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
( )
Does the room come with... 
( )
...bedsheets? 
( )
...a bathroom? 
( )
...a telephone? 
( )
...a TV? 
( )
May I see the room first? 
( )
Do you have anything quieter? 
( )
...bigger? 
(Ichikulilepo? )
...cleaner? 
( )
...cheaper? 
( )
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
( )
Can you suggest another hotel? 
( )
Do you have a safe? 
( )
...lockers? 
( )
Is breakfast/supper included? 
( )
What time is breakfast/supper? 
( )
Please clean my room. 
( )
Can you wake me at _____? 
( )
I want to check out. 
( )

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
( )
Do you accept British pounds? 
( )
Do you accept Euros? 
( )
Do you accept credit cards? 
( )
Can you change money for me? 
( )
Where can I get money changed? 
( )
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
( )
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
( )
What is the exchange rate? 
( )
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
( )

Eating[edit]

A table for one person/two people, please. 
( )
Can I look at the menu, please? 
(Tulefwaya ka menu )
Can I look in the kitchen? 
( )
Is there a house specialty? 
( Nga ma Specal?)
Is there a local specialty? 
( )
I'm a vegetarian. 
( )
I don't eat pork. 
( )
I don't eat beef. 
( )
I only eat kosher food. 
( )
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
( )
fixed-price meal 
( )
a la carte 
( )
breakfast 
( )
lunch 
( )
tea (meal
( )
supper 
( )
I want _____. 
(Ndefwaya )
I want a dish containing _____. 
( )
chicken 
( inkoko)
beef 
( ca ngombe)
fish 
( lisabi)
ham 
( )
sausage 
( )
cheese 
( )
eggs 
(amani )
salad 
( )
(fresh) vegetables 
( )
(fresh) fruit 
( )
bread 
(mukate )
toast 
( )
noodles 
(makaloni )
rice 
(umupunga)
beans 
(cilemba )
May I have a glass of _____? 
( )
May I have a cup of _____? 
( )
May I have a bottle of _____? 
( )
coffee 
( kofi)
tea (drink
( ti)
juice 
( )
(bubbly) water 
( )
(still) water 
(amenshi )
beer 
( bwalwa)
red/white wine 
(indifai )
May I have some _____? 
( )
salt 
(mucele )
black pepper 
( )
butter 
( )
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
( Batata (Man), Ba Mayo (if woman))
I'm finished. 
( Napwisha)
It was delicious. 
( )
Please clear the plates. 
( Kuti mwa teula)
The check, please. 
( )

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol? 
( )
Is there table service? 
( )
A beer/two beers, please. 
( )
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
( )
A pint, please. 
( )
A bottle, please. 
( )
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
( )
whiskey 
( )
vodka 
( )
rum 
( )
water 
( a menshi )
club soda 
( )
tonic water 
( )
orange juice 
( )
Coke (soda
( )
Do you have any bar snacks? 
( )
One more, please. 
( )
Another round, please. 
( )
When is closing time? 
(Ni nshita nshi mwisala? )
Cheers! 
(Chileshe! )

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
(Namukwata iyi in'gandinga? )
How much is this? 
(Ni shinga ici )
That's too expensive. 
( wakula sana mutengo)
Would you take _____? 
( )
expensive 
( )
cheap 
( )
I can't afford it. 
( )
I don't want it. 
(Nshilefwaya ici)
You're cheating me. 
(Ulemfwenga? )
I'm not interested. 
(..)
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
Can I have a bag? 
( )
Do you ship (overseas)? 
( )
I need... 
( )
...toothpaste. 
( )
...a toothbrush. 
(Umuswaki )
...tampons. 
. ( )
...soap. 
( sopo)
...shampoo. 
( )
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
(ka panadol )
...cold medicine. 
( )
...stomach medicine. 
... ( )
...a razor. 
( )
...an umbrella. 
( )
...sunblock lotion. 
( )
...a postcard. 
( )
...postage stamps. 
( )
...batteries. 
( )
...writing paper. 
( )
...a pen. 
( )
...English-language books. 
( )
...English-language magazines. 
( )
...an English-language newspaper. 
( )
...an English-English dictionary. 
( )

Driving[edit]

I want to rent a car. 
( )
Can I get insurance? 
( )
stop (on a street sign
(STOP )
one way 
( )
yield 
( )
no parking 
( )
speed limit 
( )
gas (petrol) station 
( )
petrol 
( )
diesel 
( )

Authority[edit]

I haven't done anything wrong. 
(Takuli eco ndufyenye )
It was a misunderstanding. 
( )
Where are you taking me? 
(Mulentwala kwisa? )
Am I under arrest? 
(Mule nkaka? )
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
( )
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
( )
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
( )
Can I just pay a fine now? 
( )

Learning more[edit]

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