Language

Setswana is the national language with minor differences in dialects. However, English is the official business language and it is widely spoken in urban areas with most written communication being in this language. However, knowing and using a bit of Setswana always helps and Batswana will be pleased that you have made the effort.

Here are some of the basic phrases in Setswana:

English

Setswana
Yes Ee (Ee, mma - answering a woman, ee rra - answering a man)
No Nnyaa, mma/rra
Hello (to a woman) Dumela, mma (Dumelang, bo mma - plural)
Hello (to a man) Dumela, rra (Dumelang, bo rra - plural)
How are you? Le kae? O tsogile jang?
Good bye - it is OK Go siame
Go well Tsamaya sentle
Stay well Sala sentle
Thank you Kea leboga
I do not know Ga ke itse ("g" is pronounced as "r" in French)
Do you speak Setswana? A o bua Setswana?
I speak Setswana just a little Ke bua Setswana go le gonnye fela
I don't speak Setswana Ga ke bue Setswana
No problem Ga gona mathata
I am fine Ke tsogile sentle. Ke teng.
Come in Tsena (Tsenang - plural)
Come here Tla kwano
How much is this? Ke bo kae?
I don't have any money Ga ke na madi
What would you like? O batla eng? or O rata eng?
I want some water Ke batla metsi

 

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General Information

Language

English is an official language in Botswana. It is taught at schools, and is widely spoken in all urban centres. Even in rural areas, many local villagers (especially younger ones who have received schooling) w