Sesotho
Expressions and Idioms


Proverbs (maele) 
Taba di mahlong. (The face is the index of the mind.) 
Ngwana wa lekgala o tsamaya ka lekeke. (Like father like son.) 
Noka e tlatswa ke dinokana. (Great things have small beginnings.) 


Idioms (dikapolelo) 
Sesotho idioms are largely based on the infinitive form (ho ...): 

Ho fata kgotso. (To negotiate for peace.) 
(Literal translation: To dig for peace.) 

Ho ja hloho. (To think.) 
(Literal translation: To eat your head.) 

Ho tlola molao. (To break the law.) 
(Literal translation: To jump the law.) 


Riddles (ditloho) 
Sesotho riddles are often presented as a question, while a listener then replies with the answer as the explanation:

Question: Monna e molelele e mosweu? 
(A tall white man?) 
Anser: Tsela sa baeti. 
(A road for travellers) 

Question: Maqheku a qabana ka lehaheng? 
(Old men quarrelling in a cave?) 
Answer: Poone e hadikilweng, ho qoma. 
(Roasted maize, to explode.) 

Q: Phutse le hara thota? 
(A pumpkin in the middle of a field?) 
A: Kgwedi 
(The moon.) 


SAlanguages.com : Sesotho



J. Olivier (2009)
SAlanguages.com