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Bua Setswana Course

This course is aimed at beginners who want to learn to speak Setswana. The course aims to help students achieve a basic mastery of Setswana to allow them to communicate their basic needs and serve as a foundation on which to build their language skills.

The course is based on information from Nthati Phetlhu (Gaborone, Botswana)

Before starting, students should refer to the notes on Pronunciation

It is strongly recommended that the student learns by speaking with Batswana speakers at the earliest opportunity.


  1. greetings, useful phrases
  2. introducing yourself
  3. verbs – present tense including verb "to have"
  4. location including nouns ending in –ng
  5. noun classes
  6. verbs - past tense
  7. verb objects and conjunctives (joining words)
  8. possessives
  9. verbs - future tense
  10. verbs - past continuous tense
  11. numbers time, days of week
  12. human body , tribes
  13. adjectives , "to be"
  14. comparatives
  15. shopping
  16. adverbs
  17. relative construct
  18. kinship terms
  19. demonstratives
  20. imperatives
  21. getting around
  22. climate

Reference/Revision Material

External Teaching Material

  • Booklet "First Steps in Spoken Setswana" published by Pula Press 1978
  • CD "Learn Setswana" from Eurotalk This is really just a lot of vocabulary much of which has little relevance to life in Botswana. However you can at least listen to Setswana speakers pronouncing the words.


  • Setswana-English-Setswana Dictionary (Macmillan Botswana) ISBN 99912-77-77-3 Compiled by Z I Matumo in 1993, based on previous dictionaries by Missionaires. The dictionary is 647 pages long and recommended for serious Setswana learners.
  • Shuters Compact Setswana Dictionary (Shuter & Shooter) ISBN 0-7960-0639-3 Includes both singular and plural forms of nouns (eg "motho" and "batho") to assist learners. For "South African" Setswana rather than "Botswana" Setswana.