wikiHow to Learn Sesotho

Sesotho is a language spoken in Lesotho and South Africa. If you find yourself visiting those countries, you will need to learn a few essential phrases and words, so that you can make yourself understood. Just as you would when visiting any Country, that has their own language, you have to learn the language before you arrive.


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    Be aware that, like for any other language, Sesotho requires you to hear it in order to learn it. Visit the country or listen to Radio Lesotho as often as possible
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    Realize early on that Sesotho is probably not like any language you've learned before. Never try to compare a language you're learning with one you already speak.
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    Use the Internet to listen to model sentences and to do quizzes (see links below).
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    Use a dictionary as often as possible. There are at least three good ones online.
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    Find a Mosotho who would like to learn your language, and exchange with them through chat, email and telephoning.
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    There's a large body of written Sesotho on the Internet. Find it and read as much as possible. You won't understand much at the beginning, but it's the little that you will understand that counts. Build on it. You're not trying to learn the grammar of Sesotho, you're trying to learn how to speak Sesotho. Remember that.
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    Use flash cards or a phrase book to revise recently acquired phrases and words. Revision is very important, especially if you're learning Sesotho outside Lesotho or South Africa.
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    Remember new words by means of mnemonics, jokes and genuine emotions. Do not memorise words out of their context. For example, do not memorise "ho rata" as the verb "to love;" rather learn "ho rata" by practising with the sentence, "Ke rata Odile," or "I love Odile," or Jack, or Jill.
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    Wherever you may be, there is probably a Lesotho or South African embassy nearby. Visit them and ask them what help they can give you in your noble endeavour. If they haven't got help, ask them why they aren't interested in people learning Sesotho.


  • Learn these ten essential phrases:

    • Dumela --> Hello (sing.) /doo-MAY-lah/
    • Dumelang --> Hello (pl.) /doo-MAY-LUNG/
    • U phela joang? --> How are you? (sing.) /oop-HEALer-jwang/
    • Le phela joang --> How are you? (pl.) /lip-HEALer-jwang/
    • Kea phela --> I'm fine /key-upHEAler/
    • Rea phela --> We're fine /re-upHEAler/
    • Uena? --> And you? /way-NAH/
    • Kea leboha --> Thank you /key-ah-lay-BOO-ha/
    • Tsamaea hantle --> Goodbye (you're leaving) /tsah-MY-ah-HUN-clay/
    • Sala hantle --> Goodbye (I'm leaving) /SAL-ah-HUN-clay/
  • In Southern Sesotho, "li" is pronounced /di/ and "lu" is pronounced /du/
  • You could always join the Peace Corps. It's a no-fail method, and you'll speak Sesotho almost like a Mosotho.
  • You can't pull this off if you're not enjoying yourself. Think of anyone successful -- they must have liked what they were doing. Make learning sesotho fun: read comics, magazines; surprise native speakers with your knowledge; date a Mosotho.
  • Always use "ntate" when talking to a man, and "mme" when talking to a woman. For example, "Khotso ntate," or "Kea leboha mme."
  • The method you choose must in the end be suitable to your learning style. What learning style did you prefer at school?


  • There are some difficult sounds in Sesotho, like the "Q" and "X" sounds, as well as sounds made by combining two or more consonants. There's no easy way of learning them apart from listening to native speakers and not being afraid to say them yourself.
  • South African and Lesotho spellings aren't always the same, even if everything else is, including pronunciation.

Things You'll Need

  • A good Internet connection.
  • Computer headphones.
  • A list of performant, paedagogical websites.
  • A bilingual dictionary

Article Info

Categories: World Languages