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Botswana

Language & Phrasebook

Language

The official languages of Botswana are English and Tswana.

The language of business in Botswana is English and most people in urban areas speak it, although in the more rural areas many people do not speak English, particularly the older generations. The primary indigenous tongue is Tswana, and is the first language of the overwhelming majority of the population. It is not difficult to learn basic greetings and such, and using these in conversation will make people very happy.


Tswana phrasebook

Tswana is spoken in Botswana and South Africa.

Basics

Hello.
Dumela.
(Dumela Rra - pronounced "borra" - when addressing men, Dumela Mma - pronounced "bomma" - when addressing women)
Hello. (informal)
. (dumela )
How are you?
 ? (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
. (go siame )
Goodbye (informal)
. ( )
I can't speak name of language [well].
[ ]. (ga ke kgone go bua teme [sentle ])
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.
. (phakela )
Good evening.
. (motshegare )
Good night.
. (bosigo )
Good night (to sleep)
. (robala sentle )
I don't understand.
. (ga ke tlhaloganye )
Where is the toilet?
 ? (ntlwana ya boithusetso e kae?)

Problems

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 !)
I need your help.
. (ke kopa thuso ya gagopladede wek o meh se .)
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

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

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

Clock time

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

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

Days

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

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

Colors

black
(bontsho )
white
(bosweu )
gray
(borokwa )
red
(bohibidu )
blue
(botala jwa loapi )
yellow
(lephutshe )
green
(botala jwa tlhaga )
orange
( )
purple
( )
brown
(bosetlha )

Transportation

Bus and train

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

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.
(hapogela ko molemeng )
Turn right.
(hapogela ko mojeng )
left
(molema )
right
(moja )
straight ahead
(tsamaela ko pele )
towards the _____
(go lebagana le______ )
past the _____
(feta fa.... )
before the _____
(pele ga________ )
Watch for the _____.
(o lebelele_______ )
intersection
(makopano )
north
(botlhaba )
south
(bophirima )
east
(bokone )
west
(borwa )
uphill
(godimo ga thaba )
downhill
(ko tlase ga thaba )

Taxi

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

Lodging

Do you have any rooms available?
(a le na le ntlwana 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.
( )

Money

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

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

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

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

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

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?)

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