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A hello song in 11 languages

A hello song in 11 languages

"Hello" - it's  a word that breaks the ice, shows respect, and starts friendships the world over. Our kids are learning about manners this week, and we are teaching them that it is good manners to greet people you meet, no matter what their age or status is.

Now because we live in South Africa, a country that has not 1, but 11 official languages, I've written a new "hello" song that covers all 11 ways we could possibly say hello! Luckily there are a few duplications, so there are a little fewer than 11 words to learn! The word "dumela" is "hello" in Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi, so these are combined into two verses; and the word "sawubona" is "hello" in both Zulu and Siswati, so these are combined into one verse.

Interestingly, in Venda, males and females have a different greeting - nda for males, and aa for females. So, just take note of the adjusted words in the last verse to explain this.

The Tsonga greeting, auvxeni, looks like a real tongue twister in writing, but it's not too bad once you know how to pronounce it: av-shen-(i) - the final "i" is pronounced very softly, almost swallowed.

This song is inspired by Refiloe Moahloli's book, How many ways can you say Hello, where the main character Sara goes on a hot air balloon ride to find out how many ways there are to say hello in South Africa. It's such a lovely book - I'd highly recommend it for kids of all ages - particularly kids in South Africa, but even kids outside the country who are interested in other languages. What's great is that there is an accompanying CD with the book, so parents can check their own pronunciation of the different greetings. It's an amazing auditory discrimination exercise for preschool and primary school kids - my son has taken to correcting our pronunciation when we read the story to him - I have to say, poor dad gets corrected more than I do!! ;)

The song goes to the tune of "Mr Sun" - there are lots of versions, but here's the Barney version if you need a reference. 

Hello Pinterest.png

Molo, molo, let's all say molo
It's Xhosa for "Hello"
Molo, molo, let's all say molo
Won't you have go?
It's good manners to say hello
So be polite and let it show
Molo, molo, let's all say molo
It's Xhosa for "Hello"

Hallo, hallo, let's all say hallo
It's Afrikaans for "Hello"
Hallo, hallo, let's all say hallo
Won't you have go?
It's good manners to say hello
So be polite and let it show
Hallo, hallo, let's all say hallo
It's Afrikaans for "Hello"

Dumela, dumela, let's all say dumela
It's Sesotho for "Hello"
Dumela, dumela, let's all say dumela
Won't you have go?
It's good manners to say hello
So be polite and let it show
Dumela, dumela, let's all say dumela
It's Sesotho for "Hello"

Dumela, dumela, let's all say dumela
It's Setswana for "Hello"
Dumela, dumela, let's all say dumela
Won't you have go?
It's good manners to say hello
So be polite and let it show
Dumela, dumela, let's all say dumela
It's Sepedi for "Hello"

Sawubona, Sawubona, let's say sawubona
It's Zulu for "Hello"
Sawubona, Sawubona, let's say sawubona
Won't you have go?
It's good manners to say hello
So be polite and let it show
Sawubona, Sawubona, let's say sawubona
It's Siswati for "Hello"

Auvxeni, auvxeni, let's all say auvxeni
It's Tsonga for "Hello"
Auvxeni, auvxeni, let's all say auvxeni
Won't you have go?
It's good manners to say hello
So be polite and let it show
Auvxeni, auvxeni, let's all say auvxeni
It's Tsonga for "Hello"

Lotjani, lotjani, let's all say lotjani
It's Ndebele for "Hello"
Lotjani, lotjani, let's all say lotjani
Won't you have go?
It's good manners to say hello
So be polite and let it show
Lotjani, lotjani, let's all say lotjani
It's Ndebele for "Hello"

Nda or Aa, Nda or Aa
It's Venda for "Hello"
Nda or Aa, Nda or Aa
Won't you have go?
If you're a boy, you will say Nda
And if you're a girl, you will say Aa
Nda or Aa, Nda or Aa
It's Venda for "Hello"

Enjoy the song, and let me know in the comments how your kids do with it. As Refiloe says in the conclusion of her book, "Hello is just the beginning and not the end!"

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