In Sesotho, the accent usually rests on the syllable before the last. For example: rata (to like), Morena (chief), tsamaea(to walk), ntoa (war). -ng at the end of a word is considered a syllable, so the accent in words ending in -ng falls on the syllable preceding it. For example: moreneng (the chief's place), tsamaeang! (walk!),ntoeng (in/to war), lumelang (hello).
→ / a as in "father" /
eg / ho bala, to read /
→ / as in "sin" /
eg / sēfate, tree /
→ / as in "there" (the mouth is more widely opened than for ē)/
eg / ho èma, to stand /
→ / as e in "even"/
eg / ho tlisa, to bring /
→ / as in "boo" (closed mouth)/
eg / bōsiu, night /
→ / as in "ought" (open mouth)/
eg / ho bòna, to see /
→ / as "cool"/
eg / ho bula, to open /
The syllables: oe, oa, ea eo
o before a or e has the same sound as the English w, forming only one syllable with the following vowel. For example, ho oa (pronounced ho wa), which means to fall; o oele (pronounced o wele), which means she/he has fallen.
e before a and o has the same sound as the English y. for example: nku ea ka (pronounced nku ya ka), which means my sheep; eona(yona), it.
→ / we /
→ / wa /
→ / ya /
→ / yo /
L before i or u is pronounced as a d. (although before a, e and o, l is pronounced as in English.)
→ / doo-may-lah / or → / du-may-lah /
→ / di-fa-te /
q is a click sound. eg. Lifaqane, (mass movement of people that occurred as Shaka conquered neighboring communities in order to expand his kingdom.)
→ / One of Lesotho's districts - List of Lesotho's districts can be found here /
Double m and n are written mm or nn in the middle of a word and both are sounded. For example: monna (man); hammoho (together). At the beginning of a word, they are written 'm and 'n, but are pronounced mm, and nn. For example: 'm'e (pronounced mme - mother), 'na (pronounced nna - me).