Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Let's Learn Setswana!

Because you never know when you might be exchanging pleasantries with a Botswanan over a nice serving of Kudu.

Of course, the first thing we wanted to learn were the curse words, but guess what? People here do not swear. Ever. "But what if you hit your thumb with a hammer?" "we say Eesh!" "What if somebody almost runs over you with his car?" "Eesh." "And your wife is in the passenger seat?" "Eeesh."


Even their slang term for us, makgoa, is lovely. It's from the days when white people came by ship, and looked like the color had been washed from them. "Those that have been spit out by the sea." In Cantonese we're gweilo, which means "western white devil." And while I more resemble the latter, I prefer the former.

So here are the words they're allowed to share with the makgoa.

Dumela rra ... Hello sir! (Dumeleng borra ... Hello sirs!)
Dumela ma ... Hello ma'am! (Dumeleng bomma ... Hello ladies!)
O tsogile jang? ... How are you? (formal)
Ke tsogile sentle. ... I am fine. (formal)
O kae? ... How are you? (informal)
K teng. ... I'm around/ I'm ok.

O mang? ... What is your name?
Leina lame ke ___ ... My name is ____
Ke itumetse ... thank you
Anka ... please
intshwarele ... I'm sorry

bokae? ... how much?
eng? ... what?
ka go reng? ... why?

metsi ... water
dijo ... food
ntlo ... house
ntsa ... dog
koko ... chicken
podi ... goat

Now get chatting!

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