Shona (chiShona)

travel phpto to inspire Shona language study
A market in Mbare, Harare. Photo by Shack Dwellers International, CC BY 2.0

ALPHABET MATCHING GAME VOCABULARY FLASHCARDS

Why learn Shona?

Shona is a Bantu language by about 34 million Shona people of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In Southern Africa, it has the highest number of native speakers of any Bantu language.

Communication skills developed while learning Shona can improve your interpersonal skills in your native langauge as well. Your marketable skills in the global economy are improved when you master Shona. Skills like problem solving, dealing with abstract concepts, are increased when you study Shona. Shona expand one's view of the world, liberalize one's experiences, and make one more flexible and tolerant.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Shona?

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Shona Alphabet & Pronunciation

a
[a]
e
[e]
i
[i]
o
[o]
u
[u]
b
[b]
bh
[b̤]
ch
[]
d
[d]
dh
[d̤]
dzv
[]
dy
[]
f
[f]
g
[g/]
h
[h]
j
[]
k
[k]
l
[k]
m
[m]
mbw
[]
mh
[m̤]
n
[n]
ng
[ŋ]
p
[p]
r
[r]
s
[s]
sv
[]
sw
[skw]
t
[t]
ty
[]
tsv
[]
v
[]
vh
[v]
w
[w]
y
[j]
z
[z]
zv
[]

Basic Phrases in Shona

HelloMhoro
GoodbyeSara mushe
YesEhe
NoAihwa
Excuse mePamusoroi
PleaseNdapota
Thank youWaita hako
You are welcomeUnogamuchirwa
Do you speak englishUnotaura Chirungu?
Do you understandUnonzwisisa here?
I understandNdinonzwisisa
I do not understandHandinzwisise
How are youMakadii?
Fine thanksZvakanaka ndatenda!
What is your nameZita rako ndiani?
My name isZita randu ndi
Pleased to meet youNdafara kukuziva (dafara kukuzia)

Shona Grammar

Shona Nouns

Man
Woman
Boy
GirlMusikana
Cat
Dog
Fish
Water
Milk
Egg
House
Flower
Tree
Shirt
Pants

Shona Adjectives

Colors in Shona

BlackNhema
WhiteChena
RedTsvuku
OrangeOrenji
YellowYero
GreenGirinhi
BlueBhuruu
PurplePepuru
PinkPink
GrayGirey (v)
BrownBhurawuni

Numbers in Shona

ZeroZero
OneImwe
TwoVaviri
ThreeVatatu
FourMane
FiveShanu
SixVatanhatu
SevenZvinomwe
EightIsere
NineMapfumbamwe
TenGumi
ElevenEleven
TwelveGumi nemaviri
TwentyMakumi maviri
ThirtyMakumi matatu
FortyMakumi mana
FiftyMakumi mashanu
SixtyMakumi matanhatu
SeventyMakumi manomwe
EightyMakumi masere
NinetyMakumi mapfumbamwe
HundredZana
ThousandZviuru

Shona Verbs

To beKuva
To haveKuva
To wantKuda
To needKuda
To helpKubatsira
To goKuenda
To comeKuuya
To eatKudya
To drinkKumwa
To speakKutaura

Building Simple Sentences

More Complex Shona Sentences

AndUye
OrKana
ButAsi
BecauseNekuti
WithNa
AlsoZvakare
HoweverZvisinei
NeitherKana
NorKana
IfKana
ThenIpapo

Useful Shona Vocabulary

Shona Questions

WhoUyo
WhatChii
WhenRiini
WhereKupi
WhySei
HowSei
How manyZvingani
How muchZvingani

Days of the Week in Shona

MondayMuvhuro
TuesdayChipiri
WednesdayChitatu
ThursdayChina
FridayChishanu
SaturdayMugovera
SundaySvondo
YesterdayNezuro
TodayNhasi
TomorrowMangwana

Months in Shona

JanuaryNdira
FebruaryKukadzi
MarchKurume
AprilKubvumbi
MayChivabvu
JuneChikumi
JulyChikunguru
AugustNyamavhuvhu
SeptemberGunyana
OctoberGumiguru
NovemberMbudzi
DecemberZvita

Seasons in Shona

WinterChando
SpringChitubu
SummerZhizha
AutumnAutumn

Telling Time in Shona

What time is itInguvai?
HoursMaawa
MinutesMaminetsi
SecondsMasekondi
O clockO
HalfHafu
Quarter pastKota apfuura
BeforeZvisati zvaitika
AfterMushure