Greetings are important in chiShona. You start the day with greetings; you greet people when you meet them.
Greetings and Politeness Vocabulary
- Kwaziwa(i) – greetings!
- mhoro/mhoroi – hello (singular/plural)
- hesi – hi
- wakadii/makadii – how are you? (singular/plural)
- ndiripo zangu – I am very well, thank you
- mangwanani(i) – good morning (sing. and pl.)
- zava rakanaka – good day
- masikati(i) – good afternoon
- Manheru(i) – good evening
- urare/murare zvakanaka – goodnight (sing. and pl.)
- chisara(i) – goodbye (sing. and pl.)
- pamusoroi – excuse me
- ndapota – please
- urombo – sorry
- hungu – yes
- kwete – no
- ndatenda/waita hako – thank you
- maita basa – thank you (for completing a task)
- titambire – you are welcome
Chishona has the ‘the plural of respect or politeness’. you use plural when addressing people who are older than you, or those you do not know. Thus, the terminative ‘i’ like in kwaziwai/mhoroi/mangwananii, etc. indicate plural, and respect when addressing one person (older person or stranger). You use kwaziwa/Manheru/mangwanani, etc if you are addressing your peer or someone younger than you. In ‘pamusoroi’, the terminative ‘i’ indicates politeness. similarly, when asking someone who is older than you, or you respect ‘How are you?’, you will use the plural, “Makadii” instead of the singular, “Wakadii’.
Child: Mangwananii, baba?
Father: Mangwani, mwanangu.
Child: Mamuka sei? (Did you sleep well?)
Father: Ndamuka kana wamukawo? (I slept well if you slept well?)
Child: Ndamuka hungu. (I slept well)
Wangari: Masikati, Tinashe.
Tinashe: Masikati, Wangari.
Wangari: Maswera here? (How have you spent your time)
Tinashe: Ndaswera kana maswerawo (I have spent it well if you have also)
Wangari: Ndaswera. (I have spent it well)
Child: Manherui, amai?
Mother: Manheru, mwanangu.
Child: Maswera sei? (How was your day)
Mother: Ndaswera kana maswerawo?
Child: Ndaswera hungu.
- Visiting your grandmother
Grandchild: Ndisvikewo mbuya? (May I arrive, grandmother?)
Grandmother: Titambire, musukuru (Welcome, grandchild)
Grandchild: Makadii, mbuya?
Grandmother: Ndiripo hungu kana wakadiiwo, musukuru (I am well, and how are you, my grandchild)
Grandchild: Ndiripo hungu… (I am well)
Here is a mini lesson in chiShona basic greetings.