Ndebele Names for Domestic Animals

Samukele! Sakubona bangane (welcome, hello friends). If you are new, please start at the first post at the bottom and work your way up to this, the newest post.

Answer/ ask questions of the community Community Questions tab.
Buy our isiNdebele phrasebooks: Amazon website, look for "Northern Ndebele Phrasebook".
Learn with the beginner lesson: Lessons tab.

There have been some questions in the emails and community questions about animals, numbers, and other topics for us to cover in the future. Thanks to those in the community who have been answering the questions, siyabonga. We have answered some in this post, like isilwane means a lion. Here are some domestic animals though, for the animal lovers:

Inkomo - a cow
Ubabhemi - a donkey
Imbuzi - a goat
Inja - a dog
Umangoye - a cat
Ingulube - a pig
Inkukhu - a chicken

Lapha kule'nkukhu na? - Are there any chickens here?
Qaphela inja - Watch out for the dog!

Kulungile, here are the numbers in isiNdebele again (1 to 10):

Kunye
Kubili
Kuthathu
Kune
Kuhlanu
Isithupha
Isikhombisa
Isitshiyangalo mbili
Isitshiyangalo lunye
Isitshumi

Did we miss any out? What is your favourite domestic animal? 

We hope 2020 is a good year, and hope to carry on with the good work from 2019. If you would like to get involved or contact us, please email Northern Ndebele Blog: northernndebeleblog@gmail.com. You can also leave a comment with your email and we will get back to you, but comments can get lost with the spam ones sometimes, kunzima. Keep answering and asking questions in the community questions tab. Amandla!

Can you guess these bonus numbers: ikhulu, inkulungwane, isigidi? (Clue: They're getting bigger). Leave a comment below.

Past Tense in the Ndebele Language

Salibonani bangane (hello friends). If you are new, please start at the first post at the bottom and work your way up to this, the newest post.

Answer/ ask questions of the community Community Questions tab.
Buy our isiNdebele phrasebooks: Amazon website, look for "Northern Ndebele Phrasebook".
Learn with the beginner lesson: Lessons tab.

Lamuhla, let us look at the Past Tense in isiNdebele. With the verbs, ukubona (to see) and ukuhamba (to go), we can say in Ndebele:

Ngibona - I see, or Ubona - you see (present tense) or
Ngabona - I saw, or Wabona - You saw (past tense).

For example, umfana wabona - the boy saw.

In the Perfect Tense (for the recent past), we can also say:

Ngibonile - I have seen (recently)
Uhambile - You have gone (recently).

For example, Ubonile'mfana? (Have you seen the boy?). Ye, ubuyile umfana, ngimbonile (Yes, the boy has arrived, I have seen him).

For more on the Past Tense, and also the Perfect Tense, go to Lesson 31 in the Lessons tab.

Hlalani kahle bakithi.

IsiNdebele Vocab Words: What's Cooking?

Salibonani bangane (hello friends). If you are new, please start at the first post at the bottom and work your way up to this, the newest post. 
For today's post, we will look at some isiNdebele words associated with food.
imbiza - saucepan
ubukhokho - burnt on crust
bonda - stir
amasi - curds/ curdled milk
ukudla - meal/ food
phakela/ phakulula - dish up food
imphuphu yesinkwa - bread flour
ondla - nourish
ikhasi - peel
phothula/ chola - grind maize/ grind
ilitshe lokuchola - a grindstone
indlu - house
isikhwebu - mealie/ corn on the cob
inkomitsho - a cup
geca/ benga - cut with a knife
pheqa - close a knife
ithambo - bone
mnandi - pleasant/ nice
umhlabathi lo uvundile - this soil is fertile
ipulazi - farm
inala - plenty of crops
izinhlamvu/ amazambane - nuts/ groundnuts (not potato, like in other Bantu languages)
ifrigi - fridge
bila/ phuphuma - boil/ boil over
nambitheka - be tasty/ palatable (from nambitha, taste)
isibambo - tongs
uqwanga - gristle
ihwahwa - piece of animal fat
isitofu - stove (not tofu the food)
imbambayila (im/izim) - sweet potato
intuthu yamanzi - steam
umkhomo - baobab
bila - to boil
hluza - squash fruit to juice
itamatisi - tomato
igwili - potato
igovu - glutton
ibhabhalazi - hangover from drinking
umhluzi - soup
umkhiwa - fig
umganu - plate
nzima - heavy/ strong
mangalisa - surprised (from ukumangala)
ungqwaqwane - ice
hlanyela - plant/ sow
iziwiji - sweeties
inhlansi - spark
ulutho - thing
ilambazi/ isitshwala - thing/ thick mealie porridge
namathela - be sticky
inkalakatha - huge thing
umlaza - whey
inyamazana - animals
ingalukhuni - turkey
inyama yengulube - pork
isinkwa - bread
imbodlela - bottle
imithi - medicine
isabelo - a portion
isithelo sivuthiwe - the fruit is ripe (from vuthwa)
thinta - touch
faka emanzini - put into water to soak
chitheka - spill
khukhuza - scrape clean
uqhatshi - nice cooking food smell
umhlubulo - rib of meat
okudakisayo - harmful drugs
uluju/ ingcino - honey/ honeycomb
ukugadli okukhulisayo - malnutrition
umthimba/ umtshado - wedding
ulusu - tripe
phansi kwetafula - under the table
geza - wash
natha - to drink
ingcino/ inhlaka - sap
izinyo - tooth
phakathi - inside
amanzi acengekile - the water is pure
isithupha - thumb
umphimbo - throat
indebe - lip
qumbaqumba - tickle
chaya - spread out to dry
ithanga - pumpkin
itshizi - cheese
isikali - food can
tshisa - burn
nyama - meat
mpofu - light brown
uwomile - he is thirsty
isitshuba - napkin
isilungulela - heartburn/ indigestion
hlanza - vomit
lokhu kulomsebenzi - this is useful

Bonus words:
udwendwe (queue)
iphephandaba (newspaper)
umkhonto (traditional spear)
umuntu olesizungu - a lonely person
impophoma (torrent)
ubunyonyo/ ichobantwala - ant/ Matabele ant
amatheza/ umuhlwa - termites
amehlo amhlophe - congratulations
isilevu - chin
dumisa - worship
ibululu - puffadder
inhlathu (python)
nakana/ cabanga - meditate/ think on it
hoqa (to snore). Which I want to go and do now. Sala kahle, bakithi.

Useful Little Ndebele Words

Salibonani bangane (hello friends). If you are new, please start at the first post at the bottom and work your way up to this, the newest post. 

Remember, you can ask/answer questions, and generally discuss (or point out any spelling mistakes, ukupha kuhle kulokwamukela) in the Community Questions tab here:


If you would like to read our Ndebele phrasebook, with many useful everyday phrases, it is available on the Amazon website, look for "Northern Ndebele Phrasebook".
Also, if you would like to do some formal lessons, we are excited to now have about 30 beginner lessons to get you started formally in your Ndebele learning:

 Lessons

Kulungile, for those in the community who are keen to learn some of those little but useful connecting words in Ndebele khathesi, here you go:

kuhle - good/ well
kodwa - but
ngoba - because
njenga - like
kuphela - only (as in, "just this alone")
futhi - again
nxa - when, as in "when I was young".
njani? - how?
ngaphi? - where?
-ni? - what?
ngubani? - who? (such as okabani? - whose?)
nini? - when?
njalo - also/ and
ngakho - therefore
kakhulu - very much (as in "thank you very much")
masinyane - soon
kancinyane - a little bit
njengoba - since
lanxa - although
kumbe  - or
khathesi - now
kubi - badly/ poorly
-vele - always
-hlana - quite pretty (from -hle, pretty)

Sahle kahle, bakithi.

Salibonani bangane (hello friends). If you are new, please start at the first post at the bottom and work your way up to this, the newest post.

Lamhla, let us look at a summary of the noun classes in isiNdebele. Once you know these noun classes, you will be able to use any noun. For more about each noun class, we now have 27 lessons up for you to learn isiNdebele formally:

 Lessons

Kulungile, nansi Noun Classes with words for singular/ plural:

  • Um (or Umu)/ Aba - for example umfana/ abafana, umuntu/ abantu,
  • U/O - ubaba/ obaba, umama/ omama,
  • Um (or Umu)/ Imi - umfula, umuthi/ imifula, imithi,
  • I (or Ili)/ Ama - ijaha, ilitshe/ amajaha, amatshe,
  • Is (or Isi)/ Iz (or Izi) - isalukazi, isitsha/ izalukazi, izitsha,
  • Im (or In)Izim (or izin) - imvu, inja/ izimvu, izinja,
  • U (or Ulu)/ Im (or In, or Izin) - ubhalu, ukhezo, uluthi/ imbalu, inkezo, izinti,
  • Ubu (both singular and plural) - ubunyonyo (ant or ants)
  • Uku - ukudla (food)


To those who would like to write something for us to post, please email suggestions to northernndebeleblog@gmail.com. For those who would like to ask questions, or help others with questions they ask, please look under the community tab for any comments:



We appreciate the engagement, as we would like it to be easy and fun to learn isiNdebele.

Sahle kahle.

Proverbs in Ndebele

Salibonani bangane (hello friends). If you are new, please start at the first post at the bottom and work your way up to this, the newest post. 

Remember, you can ask/answer questions, and generally discuss (or point out any spelling mistakes, ngiyabonga) in the Community Questions tab here:


If you would like to read our Ndebele phrasebook, with many useful everyday phrases, it is available on the Amazon website
Also, if you would like to do some formal lessons, we have over 25 beginner lessons and are adding to them:
 Lessons



Kulungile, for those in the community who are keen for some proverbs in Ndebele lamhlanje, nansi:

Umuntu abozinuka amakhwapha - Everyone has flaws to be aware of.
Kwabo kagwala kakulasililo - Prevention is better than cure.
Inyembezi zendoda zehlela esifubeni - Men will try not to show that they are sad.
Inotho ngamazolo - Your possessions last only until tomorrow.
Inja ingaqhoba ithambo iyejwayela - One who is helped will return.
Akugeza lingelasiyinga - No person is perfect.
Intandane enhle ngekhothwa ngunina - One who is well looked after is joyous.
Indlovu ibulawa yibunyonyo - A lot of small steps can overcome a large problem.
Inhlanhla kayiphindwa kabili - Luck does not come a second time.
Ubukhosi ngamazolo - Be careful not to misuse your power over someone below you, because tomorrow you may be down to his position again.
Umlomo kawugcwalelwa ngumfula - It is easy to say than to do.
Ukubona kanye yikubona kabili - If it happens once, the second time you will know.
Ungexotshe'mpala zimbili - You cannot do two things at once.
Inhlwa kayibanjwa ngekhanda - First you should use your head/ learn, and then speak.
Isikhuni sitshisa umkhwezeli - One who troubles others will also be troubled.
Imamba yalukile, ubuchakide buchelesile - Similar to "when the cat is away, the mice will play".
Isithukuthuku senja siphelela oboyeni - Some toil for very little in return.
Amajodo awela abangelambiza - Luck can happen to fools.
Imbiza ibila ngokukhwezelwa - You can say this to encourage people to keep it up.
Sizayicela isivuthiwe - It shall be there for us to admire when we are done.

For the above proverbs, the isiNgisi translations are approximate, to show the meaning. For example, Indlovu ibulawa yibunyonyo can translate to something like "the big elephant is killed by small ants." 
If you have any comments, or would like to help with the Community Questions, that would be great.
Have fun bakithi, sahle kahle.

Asking or Answering Ndebele Questions

Kulabantu eminengi (there are many people) who are asking questions and also people helping to answer. Remember, you can ask/answer questions in the Community Questions tab here.

For example, Mike asked the name for a specific type of snake, called a puff adder in isiNgisi.


Siyabonga Lethiwe, it is called iBululu in isiNdebele. 

A Hospital Tour in Ndebele

Thanks for this suggestion from Sam. In this video, they tour a newly built hospital koBulawayo, speaking in Ndebele and English:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156139491841214&id=529096213&_rdr



Enjoy and see if you can pick up some Ndebele phrases, such as the greetings (sakubona/ unjani) and congratulations (amhlophe).

Summary of Noun Classes in isiNdebele

Salibonani bangane (hello friends). If you are new, please start at the first post at the bottom and work your way up to this, the newest post.

Lamhla, let us look at a summary of the noun classes in isiNdebele. Once you know these noun classes, you will be able to use any noun. For more about each noun class, we now have 27 lessons up for you to learn isiNdebele formally:

 Lessons


Kulungile, nans' amaNoun Classes with words for singular/ plural:
  • Um (or Umu)/ Aba - for example umfana/ abafana, umuntu/ abantu,
  • U/O - ubaba/ obaba, umama/ omama,
  • Um (or Umu)/ Imi - umfula, umuthi/ imifula, imithi,
  • I (or Ili)/ Ama - ijaha, ilitshe/ amajaha, amatshe,
  • Is (or Isi)/ Iz (or Izi) - isalukazi, isitsha/ izalukazi, izitsha,
  • Im (or In)/ Izim (or izin) - imvu, inja/ izimvu, izinja,
  • U (or Ulu)/ Im (or In, or Izin) - ubhalu, ukhezo, uluthi/ imbalu, inkezo, izinti,
  • Ubu (both singular and plural) - ubunyonyo (ant or ants)
  • Uku - ukudla (food)


To those who would like to write something for us to post, please email your writing to northernndebeleblog@gmail.com. For those who would like to ask questions, or help others with questions they ask, please look under the community tab for any comments:


We appreciate the engagement, as we would like it to be easy and fun to learn isiNdebele.

Sahle kahle.

Using the same Ndebele word for singular and plural

Salibonani bangane (hello friends). Lamhla, let us look at the case for words that are the same in singular and plural in isiNdebele.

Like the English word, "sheep" means one or many of the animal, so there are words in Ndebele which mean both. For example:
ubunyonyo means either one ant or many ants, ubusuku means one or many nights, and ubuhlungu means pain or many pains (or poisons).

For more, read the lessons, we now have 25 lessons up for you to learn isiNdebele formally:

 Lessons

To those who would like to ask questions, or help others with information, we created a community tab for any comments:


We appreciate the engagement, as we would like it to be easy and fun to learn isiNdebele.

Sahle kahle.

Northern Ndebele

Salibonani bangane

If you are just starting your journey to learn and have fun with isiNdebele, please look at the first posts at the bottom of this page (scroll down) and work your way up to this, the newest post.

We have uploaded a new lessons, including the verb classes which once learnt, are simple to apply nsukuzonke. Nxa uyafuna ukufunda isiNdebele , hamba khonapha khathesi koLessons tab:

 Lessons

Have fun bakithi, we look forward to hearing from you.

♫ Ndebele song artist to listen to while you learn: ♪ Dorothy Masuku♪ e.g Hamba Notsokolo or Magumede.♫


The Weather in Ndebele

Salibonani bangane. Thanks to all those who write in every week to northernndebeleblog@gmail.com.

If you are just starting your journey to learn and have fun with isiNdebele, please look at the first posts at the bottom of this page (scroll down) and work your way up to this, the newest post.

Lamhlanje, let us give a reminder of the basic weather in isiNdebele:

Kuyaqanda - it is cold
Kuyatshisa - it is hot (can also be used for objects, like isinkwa kasitshisi - the bread is not hot)
Ilanga liyatshisa - a more specific way to say it is hot (the sun is hot)
Izulu liyana* - it is raining
Ngiyagodola - I am cold (my body)

*this may be confusing because the Zulu are also a people, speaking isiZulu. In isiNdebele though, izulu means rain.

Kulungile, we have uploaded a few new lessons, so if you would like to learn isiNdebele more formally, continue here in the Lessons tab:

 Lessons

Have fun bakithi, we look forward to hearing from you.

What is Samp?

Salibonani bangane. Thanks to all those who write in every week to northernndebeleblog@gmail.com. Thanks to Kuda for the contribution.

If you are just starting your journey to learn and have fun with isiNdebele, please look at the first posts at the bottom of this page (scroll down) and work your way to this, the newest post.

Lamhlanje, the question is, "What is samp, and what is it called in isiNdebele?"

Well, samp is made from corn/ mealies. Before it can get to a fine powder called "corn flour/ mealie meal" it is just the corn kernels chopped and stamped. This stage is called "samp", and is a common food in Southern Africa.

[Remember, the fine powder is called mealie meal (impuphu) and is used to make isitshwala (also called "pap" in South Africa). To see how isitshwala is made (and peanut butter spinach, which is delicious), see this little YouTube video we found earlier: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PdP78WD74g.]

So what is samp in isiNdebele? Well, it is either itshakada or umgqutsu. For siNdebele readers in the community, which word do you use? What traditional drinks and foods do you like - isitshwala senyawuthi, idelele, amasi, amahewu, umqombothi?

Samp (itshakada) is made from coarsely ground dried corn/ mealies.

If you would like to contribute, email us at northernndebeleblog@gmail.comHave fun bakithi, we look forward to hearing from you.

Contact reminder

Salibonani bangane. Kuyagodola lamhlanje (it is cold today).

We are always happy to have volunteers to help with Northern Ndebele for Beginners.

Nxa uyafuna ukusiza (if you would like to help), especially those that have commented who would like to get involved, or you have questions, please email us to say hi:


northernndebeleblog@gmail.com

Kulungile, last sentence: kuyatshisa lamhlanje (it is warm today), I wish.

Some Animals in isiNdebele

Salibonani bangane! (Nice to see you friends).

If you are just starting your journey to learn and have fun with isiNdebele, please look at the first posts at the bottom of this page (scroll down) and work your way to this, the newest post.

Lamhla, let us look at some names of animals (inyamazana) in siNdebele. Some words you may have encountered already. Also, note that we have lessons out here:

 Lessons

Ok, here are some animals that come to mind. Check this list for how many you know, and then test yourself below. Good luck and let us know what your score was or if you think of any other words:
  1. isibaya
  2. ubhabhemi
  3. ibhiza
  4. bhonga
  5. imbuzi
  6. uchago
  7. ichibi
  8. idada
  9. udaka
  10. isidleke
  11. indlovu
  12. indwangu
  13. elusa
  14. ufudu
  15. umfula
  16. iganga
  17. ingulube
  18. igundwane
  19. igwala
  20. ingwe
  21. isihlahla
  22. umhlambi
  23. ihlamvu
  24. inhlanyelo
  25. inhlanzi
  26. umuhlwa
  27. ubuhlungu
  28. inja
  29. inkabi
  30. inkawu
  31. ukhokho
  32. inkomo
  33. inkukhu
  34. inkume
  35. inkunzi
  36. umlindi
  37. luma
  38. isilwane
  39. umangoye
  40. nona
  41. unwabu
  42. amanzi
  43. phapha
  44. impukane
  45. iqaqa
  46. umsila
  47. intanga
  48. ithole
  49. isithutha
  50. isitshebo
  51. inwele
  52. ixoxo
  53. inyamazana
  54. inyathi
  55. inyoka
  56. inyoni
  57. zimuka
  58. zingela

  1. A bit of a trick but this is "a kraal/ holding pen for animals"
  2. donkey
  3. horse
  4. Another trick, it's a "roar/ bellow"
  5. goat (don't be so hard on yourself, manje, you're not that bad)
  6. yet another trick, this is "milk", but it can come from animals
  7. a pond, body of water
  8. a duck
  9. mud, which ducks might walk on
  10. a "nest", perhaps for ducks
  11. elephant (back to animals now)
  12. a name for a "baboon"
  13. a "herd"
  14. tortoise
  15. a river, kanti, pet tortoises don't swim, qaphela!
  16. bushveld, open country
  17. pig, not you though
  18. rat, do you smell one?
  19. a "coward", trick question again
  20. leopard
  21. a tree. Did you think it was only animals?
  22. a "herd or flock" of animals (or people maybe too)
  23. a leaf, fallen from isihlahla above
  24. a seed. It seems the tree comes before the seed, funny hey?
  25. fish
  26. termites (white ants)
  27. pain. These ants bite
  28. dog
  29. an ox
  30. monkey, yes you are silly
  31. ancestor, a good word
  32. cow/ cattle
  33. chicken
  34. scorpion
  35. bull, just a bull
  36. a burrow/ hole animals use
  37. bite, what the animal might do if you go into their burrow
  38. lion. Run!
  39. cat, don't need to run
  40. be fat (especially animals being fat)
  41. chameleon, otherwise known as a hamba bijana
  42. water, another place you might find the idada
  43. fly. A trick, this is "to fly". Ukuphapha
  44. a fly, this one
  45. skunk, uyanuka?
  46. a tail (of the skunk even)
  47. another trick, these are "pumpkin (or squash) seeds"
  48. a calf
  49. another trick, I couldn't resist. This is an "idiotic person"
  50. relish accompanying the starch in a meal to spice it up
  51. hair
  52. a frog. Remember your soft click sound for the X
  53. animals
  54. buffalo
  55. snake
  56. bird
  57. be fat, but only used for people this time
  58. to hunt, animals or people
  59. A bit of a trick but this is "a kraal/ holding pen for animals"
If you scored more than 30, you should be sending me an email with information/ links to share or that you would like us to post on NorthernNdebele: northernndebeleblog@gmail.com. Amhlophe, mngan'ami. If not, see the lessons tab or for some vocabulary, check the vocab tab. Have fun bakithi, we look forward to hearing from you.

Today's story: Money Matters

Samukele! (Welcome).

If you are just starting your journey to learn and have fun with isiNdebele, please look at the first posts at the bottom of this page (scroll down) and work your way to this, the newest post.

Lamhla, let us explore some parts about money in siNdebele.

We know that imali (money) is a ways to a means, angithi? Kulungile, let us explore some words.

A dollar is idola and dollars are amadola. 
Change is intshintshi so you could ask someone, "Lilentshintshi na?" (do you have money please?).

If something is cheap, it is "tshipa", from the noun "ukutshipa", to be cheap. So you could say, "
kutshipile" (it is cheap).

As we saw, imali is "money" and thus malini is "how much money?/ how much does it cost?" If you didn't hear the answer, you could say "utheni?" (what did you say?) or "khuluma futhi" (say it again). You might be saying this at the "isitolo" (the store/ shop).

For more of the formal lessons, see the lessons tab or for some vocabulary, check the vocab tab. Have fun bakithi.

The Prefix for the Negative

Salibonani bangane (nice to see you friends).

If you are just starting your journey to learn and have fun with isiNdebele, please look at the first posts at the bottom of this page (scroll down) and work your way to this, the newest post.

Kulungile, lamhla, let us look at some grammar.

Manje, we can all make sentences like this by now, angithi?

  1. Ngiyahamba (Ngi-ya-hamba) - I am going
  2. Ngifuna itiye eletshukela - I want tea with sugar
  3. Umama ulabantwana - Mother has children
  4. Ngilemali - I have money
Right, well, now we can add the prefix for the negative "a-", so that we say ukuthi:

  • Angihambi (a-ngi-hambi) - I do not go
  • Angifuni - I do not want
  • Angila (a-ngi-la) - I do not have
For example, angilemali (I don't have money). Remember, as shown above, with the negative prefix "a-", oftens comes the ending "-i". For example, it is not angihamba, but angihambi, and it is not angikhuluma, but angikhulumi.

For more formal lessons, see the lessons tab. Have fun bakithi.

 Lessons
Salibonani bangane (nice to see you friends).

If you are just starting your journey to learn and have fun with isiNdebele, please look at the first posts at the bottom of this page (scroll down) and work your way to this, the newest post.

We are always happy to have contributions. Thanks to those who have contributed Ndebele phrases so far. This is a shout out to all other would-be contributors. If there is anything you would like us to put up, please comment or pop an email to:

northernndebeleblog@gmail.com  


or on Northern Ndebele on Facebook 

 Northern Ndebele on Facebook
 Northern Ndebele

Thanks for your suggestions and help in teaching people more about the fascinating Ndebele language. Siyabonga kakhulu.



Kulungile, lamuhla, let us go over the numbering again.

Though English numbers are often used in urban settings, these are the numbers in siNdebele:
1kunye
2kubili
3kuthathu
4kune
5kuyisihlanu
6kuyisithupha
7kuyisikhombisa
8kuyisitshiyanga lombili
9kuyisitshiyanga lolunye
10tshumi
Enjoy your journey, njalo siyabonga bakithi.
Salibonani bangane (nice to see you friends).

If you are just starting your journey to learn and have fun with isiNdebele, please look at the first posts at the bottom of this page (scroll down) and work your way to this, the newest post.

We are always happy to have contributions. Thanks to those who have contributed Ndebele phrases so far. This is a shout out to all other would-be contributors. If there is anything you would like us to put up, please comment or pop an email to:

northernndebeleblog@gmail.com  

or on Northern Ndebele on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/northernndebele

 Northern Ndebele on Facebook
 Northern Ndebele

Thanks for your suggestions and help in teaching people more about the fascinating Ndebele language. Siyabonga kakhulu.



Kulungile, lamuhla, let us go over the numbering again.

Though English numbers are often used in urban settings, these are the numbers in siNdebele:
1kunye
2kubili
3kuthathu
4kune
5kuyisihlanu
6kuyisithupha
7kuyisikhombisa
8kuyisitshiyanga lombili
9kuyisitshiyanga lolunye
10tshumi
Enjoy your journey, njalo siyabonga bakithi.

Alternative isiNdebele greetings

Salibonani bangane (nice to see you friends).

If you are just starting your journey to learn and have fun with isiNdebele, please look at the first posts at the bottom of this page (scroll down) and work your way to this, the newest post.

To continue with learning about the best isiNdebele greetings, see the new lesson 12 here:

 Lessons

Kulungile, lamhla, let us briefly talk about different options for greeting in siNdebele. For example, we can use the verb 'ukubona' (to see) or 'ukubingelela' (to greet):

  • ubabone ekhaya/ abantwana - greet those at home/ the children for me (or literally 'see them at home/ the children'). isiNdebele is a cool language hey?
  • ubabingelela abantwana - greet the children

Remember to give a handshake with your greeting. Until next week, have fun, bakhithi.

Greetings in isiNdebele continued

Salibonani bangane (nice to see you friends). Banjani ekhaya? (How are they all at home?). As always, if you are new, please read from the first post at the bottom of this page and work your way up to the newer posts. Lamhla, let us briefly talk about greeting people in siNdebele. For more detail, please see the new lesson post out here:

 Lessons

Kulungile. When one enters a traditional isiNdebele village, one should stand at the gate a call out "Ekuhle". When someone responds to say yes, "Yebo", one may approach the housing and take a seat so that people from that village may greet one.

The greeting dialogue to address some people could be as follows (with an English translation with a similar meaning):

Salibonani (we see you)

Yebo, salibonani (yes, we see you)

Linjani? (how are you [plural]?)

Sikhona, singabuza lina? (We are here [present], may we ask you?)

Sikhona (We are present)



For more details, see the lessons. Good luck in your journey of learning this southern African language.

Kanti, mina ngizakuhamba khathesi
Hambani kuhle, bangane (go well, friends)

New lesson 9 out

Salibonani bangane (nice to see you friends). As always, if you are new, please read from the first post at the bottom of this page and work your way up to the newer posts. There is a new lesson up now (Lesson 9) if you would like to learn more about asking questions and answering them.
e.g. Abantwana bathanda ukudla - Ye, sibili!
       Children like eating - Yes, indeed (definitely)!

 Lessons

Learning isiNdebele lessons kancane kancane

Salibonani bangane (It is nice to see you/ hello friends). As always, if you are new, please read the siNdebele lessons from the bottom (scroll down) and work up to this, the newest post. Kulungile, lamhla (ok, today) we would just like to direct you to the new, formal siNdebele lesson.
Lesson 7 is now up if you go to the lessons tab above or click here:

 Lessons

Sharp sharp.

Greetings

Salibonani bangane (It is nice to see you/ hello friends). As always, if you are new, please read the siNdebele lessons from the bottom (scroll down) and work up to this, the newest post. Kulungile, lamhla (ok, today) let us look at polite greetings you can use in an isiNdebele society:

Ekuseni (in the morning):

Person 1: Uvukile! (Good morning, or more literally "you have woken up")
Person 2: Ngivukile, uvuke njani lawe? (Good morning, how did you sleep yourself?)
Person 1: Ngivukile, ngibuza wena (I slept well if you also slept well)
Person 2: Ngivukile (I have slept well)

Emini (in the afternoon)

Person 1: Utshonile! (Good afternoon)
Person 2:  Ngitshonile, utshone njani wena? (Good afternoon, have you spent the day well yourself?)
Person 1: Ngitshonile, ngingabuza wena (I have spent it well, if you have also spent it well)
Person 2: Ngitshonile (I have spent it well)


Person 1:  Kunjani? (How are you?)
Person 2: Ngiyaphila, kunjani? (I am fine (healthy), how are you?)
Person 1:  Ngiyaphila (I am fine)

People may say 'linjani' instead of 'kunjani' when talking to one person. To this you would reply "siphilile' instead of 'ngiphilile'. If you remember the tenses lesson earlier, 'li' and 'si' are the plural (you pl and we).

After you have finished reading the blog posts from the bottom of this page, you can check out the other tabs at the top of the site such as the formal, free Ndebele lessons. Lesson 5 is now up if you go to the lessons tab above or click here:

 Lessons

Ndebele songs and dancing

Salibonani bangane (It is nice to see you/ hello friends). As always, if you are new, please read the siNdebele lessons from the bottom (scroll down) and work up to this, the newest post. Lamhla, I want to just show you an interesting siNdebele song we were listening too. It is called Vumelani Isangoma and you can see it on Youtube here:

 Vumelani Isangoma

Also, here is some old but good songs:
by Black Umfolosi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJw18UhMzVo

by Dorothy Masuku: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oL8c7ZAdNU

Njalo, nxa uyafuna ukujiva (And, if you'd like to jive/dance), you can pick up some of the dance moves from these videos:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4846991574932

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj7Y2Mq6jvI

After you have finished reading the blog posts at the bottom of this page, you can check out the other tabs at the top of the site such as the free Ndebele lessons. Lesson 4 is up if you go to the lessons tab above or click here:

 Lessons
Sure bakhithi, enjoy the music, tshaya ngoma (hit that song).

iGrammar ncane (a little grammar)

Salibonani bangane (It is nice to see you/ hello friends). As always, if you are new, please read the siNdebele lessons from the bottom (scroll down) and work up to this, the newest post. As usual, the Ndebele words are in bold where possible and translated in brackets. After you have finished reading the blog posts at the bottom of this page, you can check out the other tabs at the top of the site such as the free Ndebele lessons. Lesson 4 is now out if you go to the lessons tab above or click here:

 Lessons


Sure, lamuhla sizakuxoxa izindaba eziGrammar (today we will chat about grammar). We hope you are enjoying learning Ndebele and you must feel free to ask questions at any stage in our journey.

Nouns

Plural nouns are often formed in Ndebele by using the prefixes:
o-
ama-
aba-
imi- and
izi-

for example:
ugogo/ ogogo - grandmother/ grandmothers
ilitshe/ amatshe - stone/ stones
umfana/ abafana - boy/ boys
umuzi/ imizi - homestead/ homesteads
indlu/ izindlu - house/ houses

Present tense

For grammar on verbs, see lessons 2 and 3 in the lessons tab. We just want to give you the present tense for 'to be' and 'to have' lamuhla. They are used as prefixes before nouns and verbs respectively.

to be:
ngingu - I am
ungu - you are
ungu - he/ she is
singo - we are
lingo - you are
bango - they are


to have:
ngile - I have
ule - you have
ule - he/she has
sile - we have
ule - you have
bale - they have

for example: ibizo lami ngingu... (my name, I am ...)
hawu, ulamandla babamkhulu! (wow, you have strength grandfather [father big]!)

Sure banganehamba kahle (sure friends, go well).

Lessons 2 and 3 are now out

Salibonani bangane (It is nice to see you/ hello friends). As always, if you are new, please read the siNdebele lessons from the bottom (scroll down) and work up to this, the newest post. As usual, the Ndebele words are in bold where possible and translated in brackets. After you have finished reading the blog posts at the bottom of this page, you can check out the other tabs at the top of the site.

Lesson 2 is out now if you would like to carry on some formal Ndebele lessons. Click on the "Lessons" tab at the top of this page, or click on this button and it will open in a new tab:

Ndebele lessons

Sure bangane, lalekahle (sure friends, sleep well).

Introduction to the NEW 'Lessons' tab

Salibonani bangane (It is nice to see you/ hello friends). As always, if you are new, please read the siNdebele lessons from the bottom (scroll down) and work up to this, the newest post. As usual, the Ndebele words are in bold where possible and translated in brackets. If you want to learn isiNdebele more formally, look at the "Lessons" tab. There will be regularly updated Ndebele lessons in this tab: 

 LESSONS

Lamuhla, ngifuna ukulala njengengwenya (today, I want to sleep like a crocodile [made up phrase]) so I will just give you a few new phrases to continue your fun journey. There are other tabs above for you to investigate. 

funa = to want e.g. uyafuna ukuhamba, baba? (do you want to leave, man?)
phakathi = inside
indlu = house
ngwenya = crocodile e.g. amandla ethu njengengwenya emanzini ayesemphakathini (our/ my strength is like a crocodile in the water)
Hayi, suka, ngidiniwe = No, get lost (playful use usually), I am tired) e.g. if someone says a funny joke or plays a prank, you can say "Hayi, suka!" or "hayi, usile!"
Usile = you are silly

Kulungile bangane, khathesi, ngizakulala njengengwenya (Alright friends, now, I am going to sleep like a flat dog (crocodile))

Vocab and a funny Ndebele/ Zulu video

Salibonani bangane (It is nice to see you/ hello friends). As always, if you are new, please read the siNdebele lessons from the bottom (scroll down) and work up to this, the newest post. As usual, the Ndebele words are in bold where possible and translated in brackets.

Lamuhla kulamavocabulary kuphela (today there is vocabulary only):

(uku)donsa - (to) pull
(uku)tshova - (to) push. The old taxis used to breakdown often so were called "Tshovas" because you had to push them often.
imfe - sugar cane. Yum!
(uku)khipha - (to) take out/ remove
(uku)dobha - (to) pick up
(uku)thatha - (to) take/ grab
unwabu - chameleon. Also, because chameleons move slowly, they are known as "hamba bijana" in chilapalapa slang i.e. "go slowly".
upahla - roof
igwayi - tobacco (there is an area in Zimbabwe called "Gwayi")
(uku)dubula - (to) shoot with a gun
UNkulunkulu - God. e.g. UNkulunkulu angeke ehluleke = God can't fail.
ijodo/ amajodo - pig melon/ pig melons. Some people like to use this to describe a fat person in a mildly derogatory fashion.
ithambo - bone e.g. of animals
inyathi - buffalo
inja - dog. e.g. Inja isayidla inyama (the dog is still eating the meat)
umuthi - medicine
idlozi/ amadlozi - spirit/ spirits of ancestors or just ghosts
ukhokho/ izikhokho - ancestor/ ancestors. For some fun, see the "Izikhokho" youtube videos of the South African comic artist, Mdu, such as: http://goo.gl/4r2nDW.

On that funny note, ngizakuhamba bangane (I will go friends)