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Asking for Help, Emergencies

Xhosa Asking for Help, Emergencies

Asking for help

Excuse me, Sir. Uxolo, Mnumzana.
Excuse me, Miss. Uxolo, Nkosazana.
Do you speak English? Uyakwazi ukuthetha isiNgesi?
Yes. Ewe.
No. Hayi.
I’m sorry. Uxolo.
I’m sorry but I don’t understand. Uxolo kodwa andiqondi.
I don’t speak Zulu. Andisithethi isiZulu.
I don’t understand. Andiqondi.
I understand a little. Ndiqonda kancinci.
Yes, I understand. Ewe, ndiyaqonda.
Please speak more slowly. Ndicela uthethe ungangxami.
Could you please speak more slowly? Khawuthethe ungangxami.
Please repeat. Khawuphinde.
Can you please help me? Ndicela undincede./ Ungandinceda?
Okay. Kulungile.
Of course. Kunjalo.
Where is…? Iphi…?
I’m lost, could you help me please? Ndilahlekile, Ndicela undincede./Ungandinceda?


Fire! Umlilo! Kuyatsha!
Hurry! Khawuleza!
Help! Ndincede torho!
Call the fire department! Biza isebe lezomlilo!
Stop, thief! Bamba, isela!
Stop him! Mise! Mbambe!
Leave me alone! Ndiyeke!
Where is the police station? Siphi isitishi samapolisa?
I want a lawyer. Ndifuna igqwetha.
Someone stole my car! Kukho umntu obe imoto yam!
… my watch Iwotshi yam ibiwe lisela!
… my wallet Isispaji sam sibiwe lisela!
… my passport Ipaspoti yam ibiwe lisela!
… my belongings Iimpahla zam zibiwe lisela!
Thanks for your help! Ndiyabulela ngoncedo lwakho!
It’s my pleasure! Nam ndiyabulela


Friendly requests
Xhosas are very friendly and hospitable people and will assist anybody asking for help. However, in Xhosa there is no actual word for ‘please’. The notion of ‘please’ is expressed by starting the sentence with Ndicela (I request…). For example, Ndicela iCoke (Coke please), Ndicela ibhotolo (Butter please), Ndicela ubisi (Milk please). When a verb is used it also changes to accommodate the meaning of ‘please’, e.g. Ndicela uzise itshintshi (Please bring me the change), Ndicela uhlale phantsi (Please sit down). Note that the verb ends in – e to denote a request.

Expressing the negative
In order to say something in the negative, one usually adds an a- in front of the positive form and let the verb end in –i, e.g. Andiqondi (I do not understand) and Andithethi (I do not speak). When giving a command for one person, the verb is used as is, e.g. Baleka! (Run!), Biza uThandi! (Call Thandi!)


An example:

A: TouristB: Xhosa speaker Asking for Help, Emergencies
A: Uxolo, Mnumzana.     Uyakwazi ukuthetha     isiNgesi? Excuse me, Sir. Do you know howto speak English?
B: Hayi, ndithetha     isiXhosa. No, I speak Xhosa.
A: Ndicela undincede. Can you please help me.
B: Kulungile.     Ndingakunceda njani? Alright. How can I help you?
A: Ndilahlekile. Siphi     isitishi samapolisa? I am lost. Where is the policestation?
B: Unengxaki na? What is the problem?
A: Ewe, isipaji sam     sibiwe lisela! My wallet was stolen!
B: Isitishi samapolisa     siphaya. The station is over there.
A: Ndiyabulela ngoncedo     lwakho! Thank you for your help!
B: Nam ndiyabulela! It’s my pleasure!

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