30 December 2003

Tongue Twister

I don't know how we say tongue-twister in Sesotho (It's not in the glossary yet). If you know how to say tongue-twister in Sesotho, I'm all ears.

I know a tongue-twister, though, that we were fond of in high-school. It goes something like:
Paqama ke o qoqele moqoqo o qabolang.
Ke tla o qalla qalong ke o qetelle qetellong.
Ke tla o qalla ka Qabane oa Quthing ke o qetelle ka Nqoko oa Qoqolosing.

Lie back and let me tell you a funny story.
I'll start from the beginning and stop at the end.
I'll start with Qabane of Quthing and finish with Nqoko of Qoqolosing.

Try that for size!

Most non-native speakers that have tried the sound, sometimes called the click sound, find it hard to follow that hard click (Q) with a vowel, and so end up pronouncing the "Q"and "O" in moqoqo, for example, as two syllables, whereas it is one syllable.

29 December 2003

English/Sesotho Glossary

Eh...What's this word in Sesotho?

The easiest way to find out is to use a glossary. The word you want isn't in the glossary yet? Then suggest inclusion of the word and the webmaster will only be too happy to include it, as well as e-mail you the entry.

You've also got the marvellous Northern Sotho/English Online Dictionary. That's one, two online dictionaries! Now you've got no excuse for not finding the meaning of that word in Sesotho.

Happy glossarying!

22 December 2003


The general pattern for forming plurals of Sesotho MO-words is as follows:

MO-word ---------- BA-word
Motho:   ---------- Batho
Moshanyana:   ---------- Bashanyana

Can you think of other Sesotho MO-words? Do they all follow the pattern we've just described? There are, indeed MO-words that DO NOT follow our pattern. Can you find them? Morena is one such MO-word.

17 December 2003


The general pattern for forming plurals of Sesotho SEwords is as follows:

SEword ---------- LIword
Tree:  Sefate ---------- Lifate
Axe:  Selepe ---------- Lilepe
Enemy:  Sera ---------- Lira

Can you think of other Sesotho SEwords? Do they all follow the pattern we've just described?

10 December 2003

Simple Sesotho Quiz 101203

  1. How would you answer: Lebitso la hao ke mang?



    Ha ke tsebe

  2. "LU" in Sesotho is pronounced /du/.


    Yes, indeed

    Sometimes it is

  3. "LI" in Sesotho is pronounced /di/.


    Yes, it is

    Sometimes it is

  4. In Sesotho, "10" is...




  5. Ha kuna matata, In Disney's "Lion King," is ______ for "No Problem".






08 December 2003


[Taken from ivow.net]
"Ubuntu is a Zulu word. It articulates a world view, or vision of humanity. Ubuntu regards humanity as an integral part of eco-systems that lead to a communal responsibility to sustain life. Human value is based on social, cultural and spiritual criteria. Natural resources are shared on principle of equity among and between generations.

The South African Governmental White Paper on Welfare officially recognises Ubuntu as:

"The principle of caring for each other's well-being...and a spirit of mutual support...Each individual's humanity is ideally expressed through his or her relationship with others and theirs in turn through a recognition of the individual's humanity. Ubuntu means that people are people through other people. It also acknowledges both the rights and the responsibilities of every citizen in promoting individual and societal well-being" (Government Gazette, 02/02/1996, No.16943, p.18, paragraph 18).

This a unifying vision or world view is best expressed in the Zulu maxim:

umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu

The phrase can be translated as :

"a person is a person through other persons."

Or: "I am what I am because of you."*"
[Taken from ivow.net]

Zulu: umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu
English: I am what I am because of you
Sesotho: Motho ke motho ka batho.

Zulu and Sesotho are sister languages. They both belong to the Bantu family. Make no mistake however--they are not dialects. Unless you consider French and Spanish, or English and German, dialects. Read the Zulu, then the Sesotho, then the Zulu. See why they're considered sibling languages? They feel the same and roll the same way, yet they're different.

Another striking example (because you're aware of it, otherwise there're tons of them) of this sibling language phenomenon is the phrase used in Disney's "Lion King", Hakuna Matata. It's a Swahili phrase that literally translates into I have no problems.

Swahili: Hakuna matata
English: No problem
Sesotho: Ha kena mathata.

I rest my case. Ehhh, what case was I making?

01 December 2003

South African National Anthem

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo,
Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.

Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,
Setjhaba sa South Afrika - South Afrika.

Uit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,

Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.