Pronunciation Guide

Example of use in Sesotho  placed in brackets.

a - as a in father (ama)
b - as b in bat (bula)
bj - as b in bed + y in you (bjara)
d - like d in do (dula)
e - as e in exit (ema)
e - as e in we (lebelo)
f - as f in farm (fula)
fj - as f in farm + y in you (lefjwa)
g - as ch in loch (galase)
h - as h in hall (hola)
hl - similar to ll in Llewellyn (hloma)
i - as ea in eat (isa)
j - as j in job (jwale)
k - as c in cook (kena)
- c in cook followed by ch in loch - guttaral sound (kgale)
kgw - c
in cook +  ch in loch [guttaral sound] + w in water (kgwedi)
- as c in clerical (khefi)
khw - as qui in quill (khwefa)
l - as l in lull (loma)
m - as m in mum (mose)
n - as n in now (nama)
ng - as ng in linger (ngaka)
nq - nasalised click sound (refer to note below)
ny - similar to ny in Kenya (nyala)
o - as o in on (oma)
o  - as oe in shoe (noka)
p - as p in pull (pula)
ph - as p in park (phala)
psh - as psh in push [without the u] (pshatla)
q - see note below on click sound
r - as r in rope (roma)
- as s in say (seha)
- as sh in shine (sheba)
- as t in ticket [unaspirated sound] (tima)
th - as t in tall [aspirated] (thaba)
tj - as ch in choose (ntja)
tjh - as ch in cheese (tjhakela)
tl - as tl in turtle (tlou)
tlh - t in cat + ll in Llewellyn (tlhaho)
ts - as ts in sits (tsebe)
u - as u in pull (bula)
v - as v in van in (vene)
w - as w in well (wena)
y - as y in yearn (yane)
z - as z in zoo (zozo)


To pronounce the palatal click, q, press the tip of the tongue against the front palate and then withdraw it sharply, at the same time dropping the back of the tongue from the soft palate. This sound may be compared with the sound a person would make when trying to imitate the sound of a cork being pulled from a bottle. : Sesotho

J. Olivier (2009)