Nouns & Noun classes

In Sesotho, like many other African languages, the nouns are divided into various noun classes. The noun class determines the subject concord for instance - this is very important in the construction of a sentence. For further reference also see the Lesotho Sesotho (LSe) noun class list - this page lists information using only the South African Sesotho (SASe) orthography.

Class Prefix Subject 
concord
Example Translation
of example
1 mo- o mosadi woman
2 ba- ba basadi women
1a - o ntate father
2a bo- ba bontate fathers
3 mo- o mose dress
4 me- e mese dresses
5 le- le leleme tongue
6 ma- a maleme tongues
7 se- se sefate tree
8 di- di difate trees
9 - e ntja dog
10 di- di dintja dogs
Classes 11, 12 and 13 are mainly used in languages such as isiZulu and isiXhosa
14 bo- bo bohobe bread
15 ho- ho ho tsamaja to walk
16 - ho fatshe down
17 ho- ho hodimo up
18 mo- o mose abroad

Classes 16, 17 and 18 are called locative classes and they mainly indicated a place or a space.

 

Here are a few lists of certain nouns with their noun class in brackets:

People Food and drinks Animals
FAMILY
aunt - rakgadi (1a)
brother - moholwane (1)
child - ngwana (1a)
children - bana (2a)
cousin - motswala (1)
daughter - moradi (1)
daughter-in-law - ngwetsi (1a)
father - ntate (1a)
father-in-law - ratsale (1)
father-in-law (man) - mohwe(1)
grandchild - setloholo (7)
grandfater - ntatemoholo (1a)
grandmother - nkgono (1a)
husband - mohatsa (1)
mother - mme (1a)
mother-in-law - matsale (1)
mother-in-law - mohwehadi (1)
older brother - aubuti (1a)
older sister - ausi (1a)
sister - kgaitsedi (9)
son - mora (1)
son-in-law - mokgwenyana (1)
spinster - lefetwa (5)
uncle - malome (1a)
wife - mosadi (1)

OTHER
actor - sebapadi (7)
ambassador - moambasadara (1)
baby - lesea (5)
bachelor - lesoha (5)
boy - moshemane (1)
chairperson - modulasetulo (1)
clerk - tlelereke (9)
customer - moreki (1)
doctor - ngaka (9)
friend - motswalle (1)
girl - ngwanana (1a)
herbalist - rameriana (1)
judge - moahlodi (1)
king - morena (1)
lawyer - ramolao (1)
librarian - radibuka (1)
man - monna (1)
musician - sebini (7)
police officer - lepolesa (5)
premier - tonakgolo (5)
salesman - morekisi (1)
soldier - lesole (5)
teacher - titjhere (9)
teenager - motjha (1)
translator - mofetoledi (1)
young man - mohlankana (1)
visitor/traveller - moeti (1)
widow - mohlolohadi (1)
widower - mohlolohadi (1)
woman - mosadi (1)
alcohol - tahi (9)
apple - apole (9)
apricot - apolokose (9)
bananas - dibanana (10)
beans - dinawa (10)
beef - nama (9) ya kgomo
beer - jwala (14)
bread - bohobe (14)
butter - sereledi (7)
cabbage - khabetjhe (9)
cake - kuku (9)
carrot - sehwete (9)
cauliflower - kholifolawa (9)
cheese - kase (9)
chicken - nama (9) ya kgoho
cocoa - khoukhou (9)
coffee - kofi (9)
colddrink - senomaphodi (7)
cream - lebejana (5)
cucumber - komokomore (9)
egg - mahe (6)
fat - mafura (6)
fig - feiye (9)
fish - tlhapi (9)
flour - folouru (9)
garlic - konofole (9)
granadilla - keranatela (9)
grape - morara (3)
guava - kwaba (9)
hamburger - hambeka (9)
herbs - senoko (7)
honey - mahe (6) a dinotshi
jam - jeme (9)
lettuce - letise (5)
maize - poone (9)
mango - mengo (9)
meat - nama (9)
milk - lebese (5)
mutton - nama (9) ya nku
oil - oli (9)
onion - anyanese (9)
orange - lamunu (9)
pea - erekisi (9)
peach - perekisi (9)
pear - pere (9)
peanut - matokomane (6) 
peper - pepere (9)
pork - nama (9) ya kolobe
porridge - papa (9)
potato - tapole (9)
pineapple - peneapole (9)
pumpkin - mokopu (3)
quince - kwepere (9)
rice - raese (9)
salt - letswai (5)
sausage - boroso (9)
seafood - dijo (10) tsa lewatle
soup - sopo (9)
sour milk - mafi (6)
sugar - tswekere (9)
tea - tee (9)
tomato - tamati (9)
water - metsi (6)
watermelon - lehapu (5)
wine - veine (9)
ant - lerwana (5)
ape - kgabo (9)
baboon - tshwene (9)
bat - bete (9)
bear - bere (9)
bee - notshi (9)
bird - nonyana (9)
buck - letsa (5)
buffalo - nare (9)
bug - kokwanyana (9)
butterfly - serurubele (7)
camel - kamele (9)
cat - katse (9)
chameleon - lempetje (5)
cheetah - lengau (5)
chicken - kgoho (9)
cockroach - lephela (5)
crab - lekgala (5)
crocodile - kwena (5)
crow - lekgwaba (5)
dog - ntja (9)
donkey - tonki (9)
dove - leeba (5)
duck - pidipidi (9)
eagle - ntsu (9)
elephant - tlou (9)
fish - tlhapi (9)
flamingo - folaminko (9)
fly - ntsintsi (9)
frog - senqanqane (7)
giraffe - thuhlo (9)
goat - podi (9)
guinea fowl - kgaka (9)
hawk - pakwe (9)
hippo - kubu (9)
horse - pere (9)
hyena - phiri (9)
jackal - phokojwe (9)
leopard - nkwe (9)
lion - tau (9)
moth - mmoto (9)
mouse - tweba (9)
ostrich - mpshe (9)
owl - sephooko (7)
pig - kolobe (9)
porcupine - noko (9)
python - tlhware (9)
rabbit - mmutla (3)
rat - roto (9)
rhino - tshukudu (9)
scorpion - phepeng (9)
sheep - nku (9)
snake - noha (9)
spider - sekgo (7)
springbuck - letsa (5)
stork - mokotatsie (3)
swallow - lefokotsane (5)
tortoise - kgudu (9)
turkey - kalakunu (9)
vulture - lenong (5)
whale - leruarua (5)
wild duck - letata (5)
zebra - pitsi (9)
Clothing Food related items Transport
belt - lebanta (5)
cap - kepisi (9)
coat - jase (9)
dress - mose (3)
hat - katiba (9)
jacket - baki (9)
jersey - jeresi (9)
pants - borikgwe (14)
shirt - hempe (9)
sandals - disantale (10)
shoes - dieta (10)
skirt - sekethe (7)
socks - dikausu (10)
suit - sutu (9)
tie - thae (9)
trousers - borikgwe (14) 
vest - besete (9)
bottle - botlolo (9)
bowl - sejana (7)
crockery - dijana (8)
cup - kopi (9)
fork - fereko (9)
glass - kgalase (9)
jug - jeke (9)
kettle - ketlele (9)
knife - thipa (9)
pan - pane (9)
plate - sejana (7)
pot - pitsa (9)
spoon - kgaba (9)
teaspoon - kgabana (9)
tin opener - sebuladithine (7)
tray - terei (9)
airplane - sefofane (7)
bicycle - baesekele (9)
boat - seketswana (7)
bus - bese (9)
car - koloi (9)
cart - kariki (9)
helicopter - helikopotare (9)
lorry - lori (9)
minibus taxi - khombi (9)
motorbike - sethuthuthu (7)
ship - sekepe (7)
taxi - tekisi (9)
train - terene (9)
tractor - terekere (9)
truck - teraka (9)
wagon - koloi (9)
Body parts General items Places
arm - sephaka (7)
back - mokokotlo (3)
bladder - senya (7)
blood - madi (6)
bone - lesapo (5)
brain - boko (14)
buttocks - dibono (10)
cheek - lerama (5)
chest - sefuba (7)
chin - seledu (7)
ear - tsebe (9)
elbow - setswe (7)
eye - leihlo (5)
face - sefahleho (7)
finger - monwana (3)
foot - leoto (5)
hair - moriri (3)
hand - letsoho (5)
head - hlooho (9)
heart - pelo (9)
hip - noka (9)
intestine - lela (5)
kidney - phio (9)
knee - lengole (5)
leg - leoto (5)
liver - sebete (7)
lung - letshwafo (5)
mouth - molomo (3)
muscle - mosifa (3)
neck - molala (3)
nose - nko (9)
organs - dikahare (10)
shoulder - lehetla (5)
skin - letlalo (5)
stomach - mpa (9)
teeth - meno (6)
throat - qoqotho (9)
tongue - leleme (5)
ball - bolo (9)
bed - bethe (9)
blanket - kobo (9)
book - buka (9)
broom - lefielo (5)
computer - khomputa (9)
cupboard - khabete (9)
carpet - tapeite (9)
chair - setulo (7)
door - lemati (5)
door opening - monyako (3)
fridge - sehatsetsi (7)
iron - aene (9)
lamp - lebone (5)
letter - lengolo (5)
mirror - seipone (7)
money - tjhelete (9)
music - mmino (3)
oven - onto (9)
paper - pampiri (9)
pen - pene (9)
pencil - pensele (9)
stove - setofo (7)
table - tafole (9)
tap - pompo (9)
telephone - fono (9)
television - televishene
pillow - mosamo (3)
apartment - folete (9)
bank - banka (9)
castle - kasetlele (9)
cemetery - mabitleng (6)
church - kereke (9)
cinema - baesekopo (9)
circus - serekisi (7)
classroom - phaposi (9)
clinic - tliliniki (9)
court - lekgotla (5)
farm - polasi (9)
garage - karatjhe (9)
garden - tshimo (9)
hotel - hotele (9)
hospital - sepetlele (7)
house - ntlo (9)
hut - mokgoro (3)
kitchen - kitjhine (9)
kraal - lesaka (5)
laboratory - laboratori (9)
land - naha
library - laeborari (9)
mountain - thaba (9)
office - ofisi (9)
orphanage - dikgutsaneng (9)
palace - paleisi (9)
prison - teronko (9)
room - kamore (9)
river - noka (9)
school - sekolo (7)
sea - lewatle (5)
shop - lebenkele (5)
station - seteishene (7)
supermarket - suphamakethe (9)
tent - tente (9)
toilet - ntlwana (9)
university - yunivesiti (9)
zoo - serapa (7) sa diphoofolo



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J. Olivier (2009)