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Tswana phrasebook

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Tswana (Setswana) is spoken in Botswana and South Africa.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Vowels[edit]

Consonants[edit]

Common diphthongs[edit]

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs

OPEN
bula
CLOSED
tswala
ENTRANCE
kgoro/mojako/lebati
EXIT
tswa fa
PUSH
kgorometsa
PULL
goga
HERE
kafa/ fa
TOILET
ntlwana ya boithuselo
MEN
banna/borre
WOMEN
basadi/bomme
LADY
nchadinyana/msadinyana

Greeting[edit]

Hello.
Dumela (One person) Dumelang (More than one person)
Dumela Rra - when addressing a man, Dumela Borra - when addressing men, more than one
Dumela Mma - when addressing a womanm Dumela Bomma - when addressing women, more than one
Hello. (informal)
. (dumela ), singular; (dumelang), plural
How are you?
O tsogíle jang? (o tsogile ?)
Fine, thank you.
. (Ke tsogile / ke a leboga )
What is your name?
? (leina la gago ke mang ?)
My name is _______.
(leina lame ke ________.)
Nice to meet you.
. (ke itumela go go itse )
Please.
. (ka tsweetswee )
Thank you.
. (ke a leboga )
You're welcome.
. (o amogelesegile )
Yes.
. (ee )
No.
. (nnyaa )
Excuse me. (getting attention)
. ( )
Excuse me. (begging pardon)
. ( )
I'm sorry.
. (ke kopa maitshwarelo )
Goodbye Sala sentle - stay well Tsamaya sentle - go well
Goodbye (informal)
Go siame
I can't speak Tswana [well].
[ ]. ( [Kgaketse go bua Setswana pila ])
Do you speak English?
? (o bua sekgowa ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
? (a gona le mongwe fa yo o buang sekgowa ?)
Help!
! (thusa !)
Look out!
! (bona koo !)
Good morning.
. (Moso o itumedisang )
Good evening.
. (motshegare )
Good night.
. (bosigo jo bo monate/boitumedisang )
Good night (to sleep)
. (robala sentle )
I don't understand.
. (ga ke tlhaloganye )
I (really) don't know.
(Ga ketse (tota))
Come here boy/girl.
(Tla kwano msimanyana/ngwananyana)
Where is the toilet?
? (ntlwana ya boithusetso e kae?)

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone.
. (ntlogele .)
Don't touch me!
! (o seka wa ntshwara/o seka wa nkgoma !)
I'll call the police.
. (ke tla leletsa mapodise .)
Police!
! (mapodise !)
Stop! Thief!
! ! (ema !legodu !)
Are you crazy?!
? ! (Wa tsenwa?!)
I will beat you!
! (Ke tlago betsa!)
I need your help.
. (ke kopa thuso ya gago .)
It's an emergency.
. (ke ga tshoganetso .)
I'm lost.
. (ke latlhegile/ke timetse .)
I lost my bag.
. (ke latlhegetswe ke kgetsana yame .)
I lost my wallet.
. (ke latlhile sepache same .)
I'm sick.
. (ke a lwala .)
I've been injured.
. (ke gobetse .)
I need a doctor.
. (ke batla ngaka .)
Can I use your phone?
? (ke ka dirisa mogala wa gago ?)

Numbers[edit]

1
(bongwe )
2
(bobedi )
3
(boraro )
4
(bone )bone
5
(botlhano )
6
(boratato )
7
(bosupa )
8
(borobabobedi )
9
(borobabongwe )
10
(lesome )lesome
11
(lesome-le-bongwe )
12
(lesome-le-bobedi )
13
(lesome-le-boraro' )
14
(lesome-le-bone)
15
(lesome-le-botlhano )
16
(lesome-le-borataro )
17
(lesome-le-bosupa )
18
(lesome-le-borobabobedi )
19
(lesome-le-borobabongwe )
20
(masome-a-mabedi )
21
(masome-a-mabedi-le bongwe )
22
(masome-a-mabedi-le-bobedi' )
23
(masome-a-mabedi-le-boraro )
30
(masome-a-maroro )
40
(masome-a-mane )
50
(masome-a-matlhano )
60
(masome-a-marataro )
70
(masome-a-supa )ma
80
(masome-a-robabobedi )
90
(masome-a-robabongwe )
100
(lekgolo )lekgolo
200
(makgolo-a-mabedi )
300
(makgolo-a-mararo )
1,000
(sekete )sekete
2,000
(kete-tse-pedi )
1,000,000
(sedikadike )
1,000,000,000
( )
1,000,000,000,000
( )
number _____ (train, bus, etc.)
(dipalo )
half
(sephatlo )
less
(bonnye )
more
(bontsi )

Time[edit]

now
(jaanong )
later
(kgantele )
before
(lantlha )
morning
(moso )
afternoon
(motshegare )
evening
(maitsebowa )
night
(bosigo )

Clock time[edit]

one o'clock AM
(nako ya bongwe maphakela )
two o'clock AM
(nako ya bobedi maphakela )
noon
(motshegare )
one o'clock PM
(nako ya bongwe maitsebowa )
two o'clock PM
(nako ya bobedi maistebowa )
midnight
(bosigo-gare )

Duration[edit]

10_____ minute(s)
(metsotso' )
___5__ hour(s)
(di oura )
_____ day(s)
(matsatsi )
_____ week(s)
(dibeke )
_____ month(s)
(dikgwedi )
_____ year(s)
(dingwaga )

Days[edit]

today
(gompieno )g
yesterday
(maabane )
tomorrow
(kamoso )
this week
(beke e tlang )
last week
(beke ee fetileng )
next week
(beke ee tlang )
Sunday
(tshipi )
Monday
(mosupologo )
Tuesday
(labobedi )
Wednesday
(laboraro )
Thursday
(labone )
Friday
( labotlhano)
Saturday
(matlhatso )

Months[edit]

January
(Ferikgong )
February
(tlhakole )
March
(mopitlwe)
April
(moranang )
May
(motsheganong )
June
(seetebosigo )
July
(phukwi )
August
(phatwe )
September
(lwesti )
October
(Diphalane )
November
(ngwanatsele )
December
(sedimonthole )

Writing time and date[edit]

Colors[edit]

black
(bontsho )
white
(bosweu )
gray
(borokwa )
red
(boshibidu )
blue
(botala jwa loapi )
yellow
(seroloana )
green
(botala jwa tlhaga )
orange
(meals wa namune/wa lephutshe )
purple
(phepole )
brown
(bosetlha )

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____?
(thekete ke bokae? )
One ticket to _____, please.
(thekete e le nngwe ke________tsweetswee )
Where does this train/bus go?
(terena kgotsa base e e ya kae? )
Where is the train/bus to _____?
(terena kgotsa base e ya ko_______? )
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
(a base kgotsa terenae e ema ko_______? )
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
( )
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
(terenakgotsa base e e tla goroga leng ko______?)

Directions[edit]

How do I get to _____ ?
(ke goroga jang koo______? )
...the train station?
(....maemelo a terena? )
...the bus station?
(....maemelo a dibaee? )
...the airport?
(...maemelo a difofane? )
...downtown?
(ko toropong? )
...the youth hostel?
( )
...the _____ hotel?
( )
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?
( )
Where are there a lot of...
(ke ko kae ko go nang le_______se sentsi? )
...hotels?
( )
...restaurants?
( )
...bars?
(dibara? )
...sites to see?
( )
Can you show me on the map?
(a o ka mpontsha mo mmepeng? )
street
(mokgwatha )
Turn left.
(kapogela ho molema )
Turn right.
(kapogela ho moja)
left
(molema )
right
(moja )
straight ahead
(stamaela ho sele )
towards the _____
(go lebagana le______ )
past the _____
(fetaa fa.... )
before the _____
(sele ga________ )
Watch for the _____.
(o lebelele_______ )
intersection
(mahosano )
north
(botlkaba )
south
(bopkirima )
east
(bohone )
west
(botwa )
uphill
(jodimo ja thaba )
downhill
(ho tlase ja thaba )

Taxi[edit]

Taxi!
( )
Take me to _____, please.
(tonki)
How much does it cost to get to _____?
(ke go ya ko....? )
Take me there, please.
(nkisa teng,ka tsweetswee )

Lodging[edit]

Do you have any rooms available?
(a le ya borobalo ee senang ope? )
How much is a room for one person/two people?
(ke bokae ntlwana ya borobalo fa motho a le mongwe kgotsa ba le babedi? )
Does the room come with...
(a ntlwana e tla ka_______? )
...bedsheets?
( )
...a bathroom?
(ntlawana ya go tlhapela? )
...a telephone?
(mogala? )
...a TV?
(setshwantsho sa motshikinyego?)
May I see the room first?
(a nkabona ntlwana ya borobalo pele? )
Do you have anything quieter?
( )
...bigger?
(setona? )
...cleaner?
(bophepa? )
...cheaper?
(tlhwatlhwa tlase? )
OK, I'll take it.
(go siame,ke tla e tsaya )
I will stay for _____ night(s).
(ke nna bosigo(ma)a le______)
Can you suggest another hotel?
( )
Do you have a safe?
( )
...lockers?
( )
Is breakfast/supper included?
(a dijo tsa phakela kgotsa bosigo mo teng? )
What time is breakfast/supper?
(dijo tsa phakela kgotsa bosigo ke nako mang? )
Please clean my room.
(ka tsweetswee phepafatsa ntlwana yame ya borobalo )
Can you wake me at _____?
(a o ka ntsosa ka______? )
I want to check out.
( )
nails
(manala )
hair
(Morris )
Hot
(Bolelo )
Cold
(Tsididi )

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.
(ke kopa tafole ya motho ale mongwe kgotsa ba le babedi,ka tsweetswee )
Can I look at the menu, please?
( )
Can I look in the kitchen?
(a nka bona mo ntlwaneng ya boapeelo? )
Is there a house specialty?
(a gona le tsa ntlo tse di kgethegileng? )
Is there a local specialty?
(a gona le tsa setso/setswana tse di kgethegileng? )
I'm a vegetarian.
(ke ja merogo fela )
I don't eat pork.
(ga ke je nama ya kolobe )
I don't eat beef.
(ga ke je nama ya kgomo )
I only eat kosher food.
( )
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard)
( )
fixed-price meal
( )
a la carte
( )
breakfast
(dijo tsa moso/phakela )
lunch
(dijo tsa motshegare )
tea (meal)
(tee/mogodungwana (dijo) )
supper
(dijo tsa selalelo/maitseboa )
I want _____.
(ke batla go ________ )
I want a dish containing _____.
(ke batla tse di nang le_______ )
chicken
(nama ya koko )
beef
(nama ya kgomo )
fish
(tlhapi )
ham
( )
sausage
( )
cheese
(botoro )
eggs
(mae )
salad
( )
(fresh) vegetables
(merogo e e phepa )
(fresh) fruit
(maungo a a phepa )
bread
(borotho/senkgwe )
toast
( )
noodles
( )
rice
( )
beans
(dinawa )
May I have a glass of _____?
(ke kopa galase ya_______? )
May I have a cup of _____?
(ke kopa kopi ya________? )
May I have a bottle of _____?
(ke kopa botlele ya_______? )
coffee
(kofi )
tea (drink)
(tee/mogodungwana (nwa) )
juice
( )
(bubbly) water
( )
(still) water
( )
beer
(biri )
red/white wine
(mofine o mohibidu/o mosweu )
May I have some _____?
(ke kopa_____? )
salt
(letswai )
black pepper
( )
butter
(botoro )
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
( )
I'm finished.
(ke feditse )
It was delicious.
(go ne go le monate )
Please clear the plates.
(ka tsweetswee tsaya dijana )
The check, please.
( )

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol?
(o rekisa bojalwa? )
Is there table service?
( )
A beer/two beers, please.
(beri /diberi bobedi )
A glass of red/white wine, please.
( )
A pint, please.
( )
A bottle, please.
( )
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.
( )
whiskey
(ugologo )
vodka
( )
rum
( )
water
(metsi )
club soda
( )
tonic water
( )
orange juice
( )
Coke (soda)
( )
Do you have any bar snacks?
( )
One more, please.
(e nngwe,ka tsweetswee )
Another round, please.
( )
When is closing time?
(go tswalwa nako mang? )
Cheers!
( )

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size?
( )
How much is this?
(ke bokae se? )
That's too expensive.
(se a tura thata )
Would you take _____?
(ao ka tsaya_______? )
expensive
(tura )
cheap
(ga se turu )
I can't afford it.
( )
I don't want it.
(ga ke e batle )
You're cheating me.
(o a ntsietsa )
I'm not interested.
(.ga kena kgatlhego.)
OK, I'll take it.
(go siame,ke tla e tsaya )
Can I have a bag?
(ke kopa beke? )
Do you ship (overseas)?
( )
I need...
(ke batla_______ )
...toothpaste.
(borache jwa meno )
...a toothbrush.
( )
...tampons.
. ( )
...soap.
(molora oo tlhapang )
...shampoo.
( )
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen)
( )
...cold medicine.
(molemo oo tsidid )
...stomach medicine.
... (molemo wa mala )
...a razor.
(legare )
...an umbrella.
(sekhukhu )
...sunblock lotion.
(setlolo sa go ithireletsa letsatsi )
...a postcard.
( )
...postage stamps.
(stempe sa poso )
...batteries.
( )
...writing paper.
(pampiri ya go kwalela )
...a pen.
(pena )
...English-language books.
(buka ya sekgoa/se esemane )
...English-language magazines.
( )
...an English-language newspaper.
(pampiri ya dikgang ya sekgoa )
...an English-English dictionary.
( )

Driving[edit]

I want to rent a car.
(ke batla go adimisa koloi )
Can I get insurance?
( )
stop (on a street sign)
(ema )
one way
(tsela ele nngwe )
yield
( )
no parking
( )
speed limit
(selekanyetso sa lobelo )
gas (petrol) station
( )
petrol
( )
diesel
( )

Authority[edit]

I haven't done anything wrong.
(ga ke a dira sepe se se molato )
It was a misunderstanding.
(e ne e le tlhoka kutlwisisanyo )
Where are you taking me?
(o nkisa kae? )
Am I under arrest?
(a ke tsena mo kgolegelong? )
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.
(ke moagedi wa ko america/australia/britis/canadian )
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.
( )
I want to talk to a lawyer.
(ke batla go bua le mmueledi )
Can I just pay a fine now?
(a ke ka duela madi a molato jaanong?)

Learning more[edit]

Setswana Info wiki - A Tswana reference for residents of Botswana

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