Xhosa: Theme 2 - Asking for Help, Emergencies

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.

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!)