Like most countries, Namibians have created their own version of English – commonly known as ‘Namlish’.  Recently, I have found myself using some of their expressions and know that if I was here much longer, they would stick.  Here is a guide to some of the words/phrases that Namibians use on a regular basis.

Phrases/Words Meaning
howz it? common greeting
I’m coming now  I am coming right back
Is is? multiple uses .  Can mean ‘really?’, ‘what?’ ‘are you sure?’
what what used when listing things, instead of saying etc.  For example:  “Once I got my diploma and what what, I can get a job.”
somehow Not sure of the meaning but it is used ANYTIME, thrown into any sentence and can mean anything.  For example “I am feeling somehow better?” or if you ask a learner how their weekend was, they will respond with “somehow”.
This side/that side When giving direction, left/right, north/south/east/west are not used.  It all boils down to “this side or that side”
Time is running  used when they want someone to hurry up
Are you having…? used instead of “Do you have…”  For example:  “Miss, are you having your camera today?”
running stomach  diarrhea – and kids have no trouble telling you they have a running stomach and have to leave the class
paining hurting    For example:  “My head is paining.”
Can you help me…? Can I borrow?  The kids are constantly saying “Can you help me a calculator?” or  “Can you help me $1?”
fall pregnant to get pregnant accidentally
How is the morning?


This is a direct translation from Rukwangali and means ‘how are you this morning?’
That learner is not serious.


Whenever a learner is acting up or fooling around, the teacher will say this
Can I go and relieve myself? Classic line used when the kids want to leave the class to go to the washroom
now now now When the word “now” is repeated three times, it means it will happen immediately.  For example, “The bell will ring now now now.”
now now Sometime in the near future
now Possible it will happen at some point.  For example “I am going to town now” probably means it isn’t happening anytime soon.


School Supplies:


cokey pen


solar tape





permanent marker


clear tape

chalk board eraser