Learn Greetings in Chichewa
Moni nonse! Hello all!
As in many countries around the world, greeting one another in Malawi is an important part of the culture. You are expected to greet everyone you see as you travel, even if it means shouting across a field or saying ten “hellos” in one breath. A great first step in learning Chichewa is to learn how, and when, to say hello.
Upon your first time meeting:
When you first meet someone in Malawi, you will greet them with the formal “Muli bwanji?” (moo-li bwan-jee)
|Mu- = prefix designated for “You, formal” in present tense||-li = root of verb “to be”||bwanji = question word, how?|
By using this phrase, you are showing respect and indicating that you are not yet acquainted with the other person.
To respond: “Ndili bwino, kaya inu?” (indee-lee bwee-no, kai-ya, ee-nu)
|Ndi- = prefix for “I”||-li = “to be”||bwino = well||Kaya = I don’t know||inu = And you?|
In the morning time:
If you are greeting a friend or familiar face anytime before noon, you will ask “Mwadzuka bwanji?” (ma-dzoo-ka bwan-jee). This greeting literally translates to, “How did you wake?”
|Mwa- = prefix designated for “You, formal” in past tense||-dzuka = root of verb “to wake”||bwanji = question word, how?|
In response: “Ndadzuka bwino, kaya inu?” (inda-dzoo-ka bwee-no, kai-ya ee-nu).
|Nda- = prefix for “I” in past tense||-dzuka = “to wake”||bwino = well||Kaya = I don’t know||inu = And you?|
In the afternoon:
If you are greeting a friend or familiar face anytime after noon, you should ask instead “Mwaswera bwanji” (mwa-swera bwanji), or “How have you spent your day?”
|Mwa- = prefix designated for “You, formal” in past tense||-swera = root of verb “to spend” (as in spending time)||bwanji = question word, how?|
In response, you will reply: “Ndaswera bwino, kaya inu?”