Tswana: Theme 7 - Touring and socializing

Previous greetings and courtesies | asking for help, emergencies | numbers, days, months, seasons | question words, quantities, weather and time | banks, taxis and restaurants | transportation and finding your way | touring and socializing | at the filling station | the human body and ailments | shopping and sport Next

Click here to download a printable version of this theme.

Like and love

In Setswana the word for ‘like’ and ‘love’ is the same verb –rata. If one says Ke a go rata  it can mean ‘I like you’ or ‘I love you’.

Names in Setswana

Most Setswana names have a meaning. Names are given to children according to factors such as the circumstances of birth, which may include the day of the week, or when or where the birth took place; e.g. for a female Mmapula (Mother of Rain) and a male Lesego (Luck). Events or achievements in the history of a family may also be a contributing factor, e.g. Kgololesego (freedom).

Slang language in South Africa

South Africa is a multi-cultural, cosmopolitan society where slang is used by many as a lingua franca.  Street language may be called Isicamtho, ‘flaai-taal’ or ‘tsotsi taal’ and incorporates Africanised articulations of English and Afrikaans. Some slang borrowings from the African languages are:
aikona  -  No way, absolutely not. From Nguni language meaning “No”.
babalaas – Hangover.  From the Zulu word ibhabhalazi.
bra -  my brother, mate.
chana - my mate (from Zulu, 'my nephew' umshana).
eish! - an interjection expressing resignation, surprise, bewilderment or shock.
eita! -  a greeting: “eita bra!” Originated in the townships among the youth.
hhawu! - expression of disbelief.
hhayi bo! - wow! (from Zulu, 'definitely not').
majita – men.
spaza - an informal trading-post/convenience store found in townships and remote areas.
toyi-toyi - protest-dancing; used in mainstream South African English.