Learn how to speak Chichewa

Learn how to speak Chichewa

Learn how to speak Chichewa

Speaking a bit of the language of the country you are travelling to is always a good idea. Locals will appreciate the effort and will respond positively. So far, I have learned a bit of Xhosa (one of the 11 official languages in South Africa) and Shona (most spoken language in Zimbabwe). Chichewa or Chewa is the most widely known language in Malawi, a beautiful country in Southern Africa. It is spoken mostly in the Central and Southern Regions of the country. It is also spoken in parts of Zambia and Mozambique. In total there are about 16 listed languages in Malawi but Chichewa can be understood by almost everyone. English is spoken by almost everyone too. As some words and also numbers do not exist in Chichewa, the Malawians use the English words.

I put together a list of basic words and phrases that helped me while traveling Malawi. Also check out the video I did with my Malawian friend Genesis, that will help you with the pronounciation. You can find it at the bottom of this post.

 

 

Hi/ Hello                                       

  • Hi/ Hello       or
  • Zikomo Zikomo (used for one person same age)

 

Good morning!                            

  • Wadzuka bwanji! (used for one person)
  • Mwadzuka bwanji! (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

Sleep nice!               

  • Ugone bwino! (used for one person)
  • Mugone bwino! (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 


 

Read next: 20 Things you need to know before traveling Malawi.

 


How are you?

  • Ulibwanji? (used for one person)
  • Mulibwanji? (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

I am fine and you?

  • Ndilibwino, kaya iwe? (used for one person)
  • Ndilibwino, kaya inu? (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

What is your name?

  • Dzina lako ndani? (used for one person)
  • Dzina lanu ndani? (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

My name is…

  • Dzina langa ndi…

 

Don´t forget to pin my post:

learn Chichewa

 

Thank you very much! 

  • Zikomo Kwambiri!

 

Please!

  • Chonde

 

1 beer please!

  • Ndikufuna mowa umodzi chonde!

 


 

Fish Curry and Nsima: find the recipe of this traditional Malawian dish here!

 


Yes

  • Eya

 

No

  • Ayi

 

I am sorry!

  • Pepa! (used for one person)
  • Pepani! (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

Goodbye

  • Basi tionana

 

Where is the toilet?

  • Chimbudzi chilikuti?

 


 

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I love you!

  • Ndimakukonda (used for one person)
  • Ndimakukondani (used for more than one person or to respect older people)
  • Ndimakukondani nonse (I love you all)

 

Do you speak English?

  • Umayakhula chizungu? (used for one person)
  • Mumayakhula chizungu? (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

Do you understand English?

(means they might understand but do not speak it)

  • Umamva chizungu?  (used for one person)
  • Mumamva chizungu? (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

Is there someone here who speaks English?

  • Alipo pano amene amayakhula chizungu?

 

How much is it?

  • Ndalama zingati?

 

How to travel on a budget. Read my advice here!

 


I need help!

  • Ndikufuna chithandizo!

 

I don´t know!

  • Sindikuziwa!

 

White person/people 

(just for people to know once they hear the words)

  • Mzungu (one white person)
  • Azungu (more than one white person)

 

I don´t have money – next time!

  • Ndilibe Ndalama – Nthawi Ina!

 

My video will help you with the pronunciation of Chichewa:

Which language did you learn before going on a holiday? Let me know in the comments!

Would you like to read and see more about my Africa trips? Here we go!

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