Home > Useful Phrases in Dzongkha

Bhutan is linguistically rich with over nineteen dialects spoken in the country. The national language is Dzongkha, the native language of the Ngalops of Western Bhutan. The two other major languages are the Tshanglakha and the Lhotshamkha. Tshanglakha is the native language of the Tshanglas of eastern Bhutan while Lhotshamkha is spoken by the southern Bhutanese of Nepali origin. English is also commonly spoken as it is the official language of instruction in many schools.

Dzongkha literally means the language spoken in the Dzongs (fortresses) that are the administrative and religious centres of the Districts. Knowing some useful phrases in Dzongkha can be useful in connecting with the local people and when trekking in the remote parts of Bhutan.

Basic Phrases

Hello (formal)    Kuzu zangpo la

Hello (informal) Kuzu zangpo

Nice to meet you  Nga choe da chebay sem ga yi

How are you?  Gaday bay Zhui?

I’m fine.  Legshom (Layshom) or Legshom bay rang yoey (full)

What is your name?  Chhoe gi ming ga chi mo?

My name is _____  Nga gi ming _____ in

Where are you from?  Chhoe gatey lay mo?

I am from _____  Nga _____ lay in

Thank you  Kadrin chhe la

Welcome  Jembalaekso

Good luck or best wishes  Tashi delek

See you later! (informal)  Shu lay log jay gae! Or Tama che gae

See you tomorrow  Naba che gae

Where?  Gatey?

Where are you? Chhoe gatey mo?

How much?  Gadem chi mo?

Yes Een or Las (Formal)

No Meen

Sorry  Tsip maza or Gom mathrae

Let’s go!  Jogay!

May I please have _____ Nga lu __ Zhu gay may 

No, thank you Me zhu la

I am hungry Toh key che

It is delicious Zhim bay

What is this? Ani gha chi mo?

Basic Words

Nga

My (possession)  Nga gi (pronounced gee)

I am from ______ Nga ______ ley ein

You  Chhoe (pronounced cho-eh-ay)

Us Nga cha

Tourist or Foreigner  Chillip

Like Gai

Don’t like Meen gai

Cool!  Leg shom du

Bitter  Khag tae

Sweet  Ngam

Sour  Chup

Water  Chhu

Tea  Jaa

Butter tea  Su Jaa

Curry  Tsoem

Soup  Thup

Chilly  Ema

Cheese  Datsi

Chilli and cheese Ema Datsi

Alcoholic Beverage  Changg

Local Drink  Ara

Shop  Tsongkhang

Numbers Dzongkha has the same numeral system as the Tibetan. It works like the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, so 2012 = ༢༠༡༢.

0 legkor
1 chi
2 nyi
3 sum
4 zhi
5 nga
6 dru
7 duen
8 gay
9 gu
10 ༡༠ chu tham
11 ༡༡ chu chi
12 ༡༢ chu nyi
20 ༢༠ Nyishu/Khelchi
21 ༢༡ Nyerchi
22 ༢༢ Nyer^Nyi
23 ༢༣ Nyer sum

100     Jaa chi

200     Nyin jaa

300     Sum jaa

500     Ngab jaa

1000   Tongta chi