About The seTswana Language…


Once upon a time speaking a second or third language could have been considered taboo but in light of all the wonderful cultures and likeness America has to offer, exchanging language pleasantries seems only right. You never know, if you haven’t already you too will bump into someone from Botswana and have the opportunity to say, Dumela, Ke itumelela go goitsi!

Setswana is one of the Bantu language groups, mostly spoken in Botswana, South Africa and Namibia (Southern Africa). Tswana is an official language and lingua franca of Botswana, where four million people speak the language. Tswana has two tones, high and low, although the latter has a much wider distribution in words than the former like any language.

When reading a language becomes difficult and frustrating, listening and following along is the best next thing.


English Setswana (Tswana)
Welcome O amogetswe (sg)
Le amogetswe (pl)
(General greeting)
How are you? O tsogile jang (sg)
Le kae? (sg)
Le tsogile jang? (pl)
Reply to ‘How are you?’ Ke tsogile sentle (sg)
Re teng (sg)
Re tsogile sentle (pl)
Long time no see Ke kgale re sa bonane
What’s your name? Leina le gago ke mang? (frm)
O mang? (inf)
My name is … Leina la me ke …
Where are you from?< Ko gae ke kae?
I’m from … Ke tswa ko …
Pleased to meet you Ke itumelela go goitsi
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Dumêla rra (frm>m)
Dumêla mma (frm>f)
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Thupama e e monate
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Muitsibowa a a monate
Good night Borôkô!
Robala sentle (sleep well)
(Parting phrases)
Tsamaya sentle (go well – said when leaving)
Sala sentle (stay well – said when staying)
Go siame (see you)
Ke tla go bona (see you)
Ke tla go bôna kamoso (see you tomorrow)
Ke tla go bôna kgantele (see you later)
Good luck Masego ke ao
O nne le masego
(Toasts used when drinking)
Pholo e ntle!
Have a nice day Tlhôla sentle
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Itumelele dijo
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
I understand Ke a tlhaloganya
I don’t understand Ga ke tlhaloganye
I don’t know Ga ke itse sepe
Please speak more slowly Bua ka bonya
Please say that again Ke kopa o boeletse gape
Please write it down Ke kopa o e kwale fa fatshe
Do you speak Tswana? A o bua Setswana?
Yes, a little
(reply to ‘Do you speak …?’)
Ee, fela ga nnyane
How do you say … in Tswana? Wa bo o reng … ka Setswana?
Excuse me Intshwarele
How much is this? E ke bokae?
Sorry Ke kopa tshwarelo
Please Tswêê-tswêê
Thank you Ke a leboga, rra (frm>m)
Ke a leboga, mma (frm>f)
Ke itumetse, rra (frm>m)
Ke itumetse, mma (frm>f)
Reply to thank you Ke itumetse, rra (frm>m)
Ke itumetse, mma (frm>f)
Where’s the toilet? Ntlwana ya boitiketso e kae?
This gentleman will pay for everything Lekau le le tsile go duela tsotlhe
This lady will pay for everything Lekgarebe le le tsile go duela tsotlhe
Would you like to dance with me? A ga o batle go bina?
I miss you Ke go gopotse
I love you Ke a go rata
Get well soon O fole ka potlako
Go away! Tsamaya kusa!
Leave me alone! Ntlogele!
Help! Nthuse!
Fire! Molelo!
Stop! Ema!
Call the police! Bitsa mapodisi!
Christmas and New Year greetings Keresemose e e monate le ngwaga o o itumedisang
Easter greetings Malatsi a paseka aa itumedisang
Birthday greetings Letsatsi la tswalo lele monate
One language is never enough Laleme le le lengwe ga le a lekanela
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
Mokoro wa me o tletse ditlhapi



For more on pronunciation of seTswana, visit here for more videos.

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