Greetings – Ndumeliso

Greetings – Ndumeliso

Thank you for your interest in learning Tshivenḓa. These lessons are designed to assist first time Tshivenḓa learners and also assist Tshivenḓa speakers. Many polite conversations start with greetings and leave taking salutations. In today’s lesson we will introduce greetings.*-

If you are not sure how to pronounce some letters, please refer to the app on the “Alphabet section” we will also shortly after this lesson is published also add some of the pronunciations for these greetings on the “Greetings section” of the app.*-

NB:In all lessons FS will mean first speaker and TR will mean typical response to the phrase or question raised by FS.*-

Greetings in Tshivenda depends on the time of the day and as it’s the case with salutations the gender of the person speaking. When you meet a person you first use the salutation followed by a greeting and they respond accordingly.*-

Salutations (U losha)*-

For males the salutations is “Ndaa” read “Nndaa”. Only males can ever use this salutation.*-

For females the salutation is “Aa”. Only females can ever use this salutation.*-

Finally, on salutations the gender of the person you are talking to is irrelevant. Both salutations above are the closest words to “Hello” in Tshivenḓa.*-

Greetings *-

Below are different greetings grouped by the time of day*-

Morning (Matsheloni) *-

FS: “Ndi matsheloni”*-
TR: “Ndi matsheloni a vhuḓi”*-

Late Morning (Maṱavhelo and typically on a sunny day)*-

FS: “Ndi maṱavhelo”*-
TR: “Ndi maṱavhelo a vhuḓi”*-

Afternoon (Masiari) *-
FS: “Ndi masiari”*-
TR: “Ndi masiari a vhuḓi”*-

Late Afternoon (Mathabama – Shortly before it gets dark) *-
FS: “Ndi mathabama”*-
TR: “Ndi mathabama a vhuḓi”*-

Evening (“Madekwana”) *-
FS: “Ndi madekwana”*-
TR: “Ndi madekwana a vhuḓi”*-

You can see the pattern from the greetings above; in Tshivenḓa greetings merely state the time of the day and the respondent indicate that the time of the day is good meaning no unfortunate event has occurred.*-


What normally follows the initial greetings is an enquiry on the well-being of the person.*-

Enquiry of the other person’s wellbeing during morning:*-

FS: “No vuwa hani?” (“How are you?”, literally “How did you wake up?”)*-
TR: “Ndo vuwa zwavhuḓi” (“I am well”, literally “I woke up well”)*-

Enquiry of health during afternoon and later on:*-

FS: “No ṱwa hani?” (“How are you doing?”)*-
TR: “Ndo ṱwa zwavhuḓi” (“I am doing well”)*-

Reposes to greetings*-

Usually the response to a greeting is immediately followed by “Ndi vhudzisa ngeo?” (“I ask the same of you”). For example:*-

FS: “No vuwa hani?” (“How are you?”, literally “How did you wake up?”)*-
TR: “Ndo vuwa zwavhuḓi, ndi vhudzisa ngeo?” (“I am well, and you?”, literally “I woke up well, I ask you?”)*-

The response here would be “Ndo vuwa zwavhuḓi”*-

As with all responses where the initial greeting is included in the first part of the response they can be eliminated entirely without losing meaning of the response. For example, the responses below are legitimate:*-

FS: “Ndi madekwana”*-
TR: “A vhuḓi”*-
FS: “No ṱwa hani?”*-
TR: “Zwavhuḓi”*-

Leave taking salutations(U onesa)*-

When you leave a person you can use any of the statements below, typical responses are also shown:*-

FS: “Ndi zwone” (“Bye”)*-
TR: “Zwavhuḓi” (“Good”)*-

FS: “Ni sale zwavhuḓi” (“Stay well”, literally “Stay good”)*-
TR: “Ndi zwone, ni tshimbile zwavhuḓi” (“Bye, travel well”)*-

FS: “Nṋe ndo ṱuwa” (“I am leaving”)*-
TR: “Ndi zwone” (“Bye”)*-

FS: “Ni vhe na ḓuvha la vhuḓi” (“have a good day”)*-
TR: “Ndi zwone” (“Bye”)*-

FS: “Ḓuvha la vhuḓi” (“Good day”)*-
TR: “Ndi zwone” (“Bye”)*-

Sometimes the person leaving will end the conversation with “Ndaa” or “Aa” depending on the gender of the speaker.*-

That concludes our lesson on greetings if you have any questions post on our Facebook page.*-

Thank you.*-



3 thoughts on “Greetings – Ndumeliso

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *