If you are an English speaker interested in learning some Shangaan (aka Changana, aka Mozambican Tsonga), here are some lessons I made up for myself as I was learning with a local Mozambican speaker.

Giving Commands

If you have a teacher, ask them to perform these actions as he/she says them and you listen. Watch the teacher to understand their meaning. Afterwards, you perform them with the teacher. Then you preform them alone as the teacher repeats them. Finally, say them as you perform them. (Repeat each number several times until you can perform without hesitation.)

Using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic (movement) learning, you will remember quicker.

(1) Sekeleka! — Tshama! – Sekeleka! – Tshama! – Sekeleka! – Tshama!

(2) Sekeleka! – Famba! – Nyima! – Famba! – Nyima! – Tshama! — Sekeleka! – Famba! — Nyima! – Famba! – Tshama!

(3) Sekeleka! – Famba! – Nyima! – Ndzuluka! – Tlula! – Ndzuluka! – Tlula! – Tshama! – Ndzuluka! – Khumba meza! – Khumba janela! – Khumba meza! – Khumba xipfalu! – Khumba meza! – Khumba janela! – Komba gezi! – Khumba xipfalu! – Komba gezi! – Khumba janela! – Komba janela! – Khumba xipfalu! — Khumba xitshamu! – Ndzuluka! – Tshama hansi!

(4) Sekeleka! – Tlhavika gezi! – Tima gezi! — Tlhavika gezi! – Tima gezi! — Tlhavika gezi! – Tima gezi! – Komba gezi! – Ndzuluka! – Famba! – Nyima! — Khumba meza! – Khumba xipfalu – Khumba xitshamu! – Tshama!
HLAMUSELO: (explanation)
• The infinitive (the basic verb form) in Shangaan uses “ku”in front of the root word just as English uses “to”
Examples: ku sekeleka – to stand up
ku tshama – to sit

• In the lesson above, what letter do all the verbs end in? ______.

All verbs (in the infinitive – base form) end in the letter a.

• The singular command form (imperative) is simply the root of the infinitive, the same as in English. In Shangaan, the command of “ku sekeleka” is “Sekeleka!”, just as in English, “to stand up” becomes “Stand up!”.

ku sekeleka – to stand up            ku tshama – to sit            ku famba – to go, walk                      ku nyima – to stop                         ku ndzuluka – jump       ku tlula – to turn around                   ku khumba – to touch                   ku komba – to point at   ku tima – to turn off                      ku tlavika – to turn on

meza – table                                janela – window                gezi – light          hansi – down            xipfalo – door                             xitshamu – chair