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Did you know

  • Nowadays in Soweto, possibly up to 500,000 youths speak tsotsitaal as their main language or one of their main languages
  • Only criminals at first could understand Tsotsitaal
  • Tsotsi is a Sesotho slang word for a "thug" or "robber"
  • Tsotsitaal, the original variety, is based on Afrikaans, in which were originally added Tswana terms, and later terms from Zulu
  • Tsotsitaal spread first as a criminal language, as it had the power of insuring secrecy in the speech
  • Tsotsitaal is a variety of mixed languages mainly spoken in the townships of Gauteng province, such as Soweto

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X y Z

English Translation: friend

Language: Tsotsitaal

A person who you know well and who you like a lot, but who is usually not a member of your family

English Translation: idiot

Language: Tsotsitaal

Bari means “idiot/stupid/moron” silly or unwise; showing poor judgment or little intelligence

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English Translation: shoe

Language: Tsotsitaal

Bathu means “shoe” one of a pair of coverings for your feet, usually made of a strong material such as leather, with a thick leather or plastic sole and usually a heel

English Translation: steal

Language: Tsotsitaal

Bathula means “to steal” to take something without the permission or knowledge of the owner and keep it

English Translation: buy

Language: Tsotsitaal

Baya menas “Buy”  to get something by paying money for it; Obtain in exchange for payment

English Translation: to bet

Language: Tsotsitaal

Becha means “To bet”  The money risked on a gamble in the hope of winning more money

English Translation: dial

Language: Tsotsitaal

Bela means “Dial” to operate a telephone or make a telephone call to someone by pressing a particular series of buttons with numbers, or moving a disc with numbers, on the telephone

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X y Z