Easy Xhosa: Saying “Goodbye”


Here’s the second post in SA Blog’s series of click-free Xhosa lessons. Click free? Yes, and it has nothing to do with your mouse, or your on-screen pointer.

In Xhosa (one of Cape Town’s major languages) clicks are sharp sounds you make with your tongue, and are represented by the X, the C and the Q. Why? Because these letters are superfluous in the Roman alphabet, and so they’ve been put to more efficient use in Xhosa’s orthography.

We’ve already learned how to say hello. (You may now hover over that link, press the relevant mouse button, and chuckle about clicks, click-free posts, &tc.)

It’s time to say – So long! In Xhosa, what you say depends on who’s leaving and who’s staying.

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If you’re a visitor, and you’re leaving your friend behind (that is, leaving his or her house, office, lunch table, etc., while he or she remains there), you say: Sala kahle! Stay well! It’s pronounced SAH-lah KAH-shlay.

If you’re bidding someone who’s leaving goodbye, on the other hand, you say: Hamba Kahle! Go well! It’s pronounced HAHM-ba KAH-shlay.

Got it? Good! Not too hard, I trust.

Xhosa Goodbye Cheat Sheet

Hamba kahle!HAHM-ba KAH-shlay – Go well! (To one who’s leaving your company.)
Sala kahle!SAH-lah KAH-shlay – Stay well! (To one whose company you’re leaving.)