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Sesotho is the main language of Lesotho and is one of the official languages of South Africa.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Vowels[edit]

a
as in spa
e
as in pit, cafe, or bed
i
as in beet
o
as in put, French "oiseau", or board
u
as in boot

Consonants[edit]

b
same as English, only fully voiced
bj
pronounced as above, followed by either the s as in vision or the j as in yarn
d
same as English as an allophone of l that only occurs before i and u
f
same as English
fj
pronounced as above, followed by sh as in she
h
same as English, voiced or unvoiced; it's an allophone, either way
j
as in vision or jam
k
as in skill, only unaspirated
kh
fully aspirated k, which occurs mostly in old loanwords and ideophones
l
same in English
m
same in English
n
same in English
ng
as in sing
ny
as in onion or Spanish "el niño"
p
as in spit, only unaspirated
ph
fully aspirated p
pj
pronounced as p, followed by sh as in she
pjh
aspirated pj
s
same as English
sh
as in shoe
t
as in stalk, only unaspirated
th
aspirated t
tj
as in which, only unaspirated
tjh
aspirated tj
ts
as in cats, only unaspirated
tsh
aspirated ts
w
same in English
y
as in yarn
Tricky Consonants
hl
kg
as in the way the Scottish say loch
r
as in French, only soft; originally pronounced as an alveolar rolled lingual
tl
tlh
aspirated tl
q
qh
aspirated q
nq

Common diphthongs[edit]

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs


OPEN
bula
CLOSED
ENTRANCE
EXIT
PUSH
PULL
TOILET
MEN
WOMEN
FORBIDDEN
Hello.
dumela. (doomellah)
Hello. (informal)
Khotso. (hotsow)
How are you?
U phela joang? (oo-pee-la-jwang)
Fine, thank you.
Kea phela (key-ah-pee-la)
What is your name?
Lebitso la hau ke mang? (leh-beet-saw la-how key-mung)
My name is ______ .
Lebitso la ka ke ______ . ( _____ .)
Nice to meet you.
Ke thabela ho u tseba . ( key-ta-bell-a-who-oo-t-see-ba )
Please.
. (Ke kopa hore o... )
Thank you.
Kea leboha. ( )
You're welcome.
. ( )
Yes.
. (Eea )
No.
. (Che )
Excuse me. (getting attention)
. (A k'u ntšoarele hanyane)
Excuse me. (begging pardon)
. ( )
I'm sorry.
Ntšoarele. ( )
Goodbye
Sala hantle. ( )
Goodbye (informal)
. ( )
I can't speak Sesotho [well].
[ ]. ( [])
Do you speak English?
U bua sekhooa ? ( ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
? (Hona le motho ea tsebang ho bua Sekhooa?)
Help!
Ke kopa thuso! ( !)
Look out!
! (Hlokomela !)
Good morning.
. (Lumaka/Khotso )
Good evening.
. (dumela/Khotso )
Good night.
. (Dumela/Khotso )
Good night (to sleep)
Robala hantle. ( )
I don't understand.
Ha ke utloisise. ( )
Where is the toilet?
? (Ntloaneng ke kae?)

I'm OK or fine (Ke hantle )

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone.
("kgaohana le nna")
Don't touch me!
("se ntshware")
I'll call the police.
("ketla founela mapolesa")
Police!
("mapolesa plr..leponesa sing")
Stop! Thief!
("Ema!leshodu")
I need your help.
ke hloka thuso ya hao("...")
It's an emergency.
("ke tshwanyetso")
I'm lost.
ke lahlehile ("...")
I lost my bag.
("ke lahlehetswe ke mokotla waka")
I lost my wallet.
("ke lahlehetswe ke sepatjhe saka")
I'm sick.
("ke ya kula")
I've been injured.
("ke lemetse")
I need a doctor.
("ke hloka ngaka")
Can I use your phone?
("Nka sebedisa mohala wa hao wa thekeng")

Numbers[edit]

1
Ngoe
2
Peli
3
Tharo
4
'Ne
5
Hlano
6
Ts'elela
7
Supa
8
Robeli
9
Robong
10
Leshome
11
Leshome le motso o mong
12
Leshome le metso e 'meli
13
Leshome le metso e meraro
14
Leshome le metso e mene
15
Leshome le metso e mehlano
16
Leshome le metso e ts'eletseng
17
Leshome le metso e supileng
18
Leshome le metso e robeli
19
Leshome le metso e robong
20
Mashome a mabeli
30
Mashome a mararo
40
Mashome a mane
50
Mashome a mahlano
60
Mashome a ts'eletseng
70
Mashome a supileng
80
Mashome a robeli
90
Mashome a robong
100
Lekholo
200
Makholo a mabeli
300
Makholo a mararo
400
Makholo a mane
600
Makholo a mahlano
600
Makholo a ts'eletseng
700
Makholo a supileng
800
Makholo a robeli
900
Makholo a robong
1000
Sekete

Time[edit]

Clock time[edit]

Hour
Hora
Hours
Dihora
Minute
Motsotso
Minutes
Metsotso
Second
Motsotswana
Seconds
Metsotswana

Duration[edit]

Days[edit]

Monday
Mantaha
Tuesday
Labobedi
Wednesday
Laboraro
Thursday
Labone
Friday
Labohlano
Saturday
Moqebelo
Sunday
Sontaha
Weekend
Mafelo a beke

Months[edit]

January
("pherekgong ")
February
("hlakola")
March
("hlakubele")
April
("mmesa")
May
("motsheanong")
June
("phupu")
July
("phupjane")
August
("phato")
September
("lwetse")
October
("motsheanong")
November
("pudungwane")
December
("tshitswe")

Writing time and date[edit]

Colors[edit]

Red
("kgubedu")
Yellow
("tshehla")
Green
("tala")
Blue
("bolou")
Black
("ntsho")
White
("sweu")
Purple
("perese")
Orange
("...")
Brown
("...")
Grey
("putswa")
Pink
("...")

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____?
("...")ke bokaye ticket
One ticket to _____, please.
("...")
Where does this train/bus go?
("...")
Where is the train/bus to _____?
("...")
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
("...")
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
("...")
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
("...")

Directions[edit]

Taxi[edit]

Lodging[edit]

===Money===tjhelete Che le te

Eating[edit]

Bars[edit]

Shopping[edit]

Driving[edit]

Authority[edit]

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