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Encyclopedia > Languages of South Africa
Map showing principal South African languages by municipality. Lighter shades indicate a non-majority plurality.      Afrikaans      Northern Sotho      Southern Sotho      Swati      Tsonga      Tswana      Venda      Xhosa      Zulu
Map showing principal South African languages by municipality. Lighter shades indicate a non-majority plurality.
     Afrikaans      Northern Sotho      Southern Sotho      Swati      Tsonga      Tswana      Venda      Xhosa      Zulu
Geographical distribution of South African languages.
Geographical distribution of the Sotho-Tswana languages languages in South Africa's provinces.
Geographical distribution of the Sesotho language in South Africa's provinces.
Geographical distribution of the Nguni languages in South Africa's provinces.
Geographical distribution of the isiZulu language in South Africa's provinces.
Geographical distribution of the isiZulu language in South Africa's provinces.

Life in South Africa Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1146x828, 49 KB) [edit] Summary A map showing SA municipalities by language. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1146x828, 49 KB) [edit] Summary A map showing SA municipalities by language. ... A plurality, relative majority or simple majority is the largest share of something, which may or may not be considered a majority, i. ... Look up Wiktionary:Swadesh lists for Afrikaans and Dutch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Northern Sotho, Sepedi, or Sesotho sa Leboa, is one of the official languages of South Africa, and is spoken by 4,208,980 people (2001 Census Data), mostly in the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga. ... Sesotho is a language spoken in southern Africa. ... Swati (siSwati in the language itself; Swazi in Zulu) is a Bantu language of the Nguni group spoken in Swaziland and South Africa. ... The Tsonga or Xitsonga language is spoken in southern Africa by the Tsonga people, also known as the Shangaan. ... Tswana (Setswana), is a Bantu language. ... Venda, also known as Tshivenda, or Luvenda, is a Bantu language. ... For the Xhosa people, see Xhosa. ... Zulu (called isiZulu in Zulu), is a language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (943x667, 85 KB) Summary All Stats SA products are protected by copyright. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (943x667, 85 KB) Summary All Stats SA products are protected by copyright. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1146x828, 14 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1146x828, 14 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... The Sotho-Tswana language group is a group of closely related Bantu languages spoken in Southern Africa, including Tswana (Setswana), Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Leboa), Sotho (Southern Sotho or Sesotho), and Lozi (Silozi or Rozi). ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 578 pixelsFull resolution (1146 × 828 pixel, file size: 14 KB, MIME type: image/gif) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 578 pixelsFull resolution (1146 × 828 pixel, file size: 14 KB, MIME type: image/gif) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Sesotho is a language spoken in southern Africa. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1146x828, 14 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1146x828, 14 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... For the cattle breed see Nguni cattle. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 578 pixelsFull resolution (1146 × 828 pixel, file size: 14 KB, MIME type: image/gif) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 578 pixelsFull resolution (1146 × 828 pixel, file size: 14 KB, MIME type: image/gif) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Zulu, also known as isiZulu, is a language of the Zulu people with about 9 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ...

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South Africa has 11 official languages, which is second in number only to the 23 national languages of India. South Africa also recognises eight non-official languages as "national languages". Of the official languages, two are Indo-European languages — English and Afrikaans — while the other nine are languages of the Bantu family (within Africa's largest phylum, Niger-Congo). There is no single Culture of South Africa. ... Until 1991, South African law divided the population into four major racial categories: blacks, whites, coloureds, and Asians. ... // Constitution Following the 1994 elections, South Africa was governed under an interim constitution. ... art forms of southern africa, is beautifully painted vases and wood made into animals Categories: Africa-related stubs ... Holidays in South Africa: The Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994) determines that whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following it will be a public holiday. ... An official language is a language that is given a unique legal status in the countries, states, and other territories. ... Indian constitution recognizes 22 languages as National languages 1. ... A national language is a language (or language variant, i. ... The Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred related languages and dialects [1], including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many spoken in the Indian subcontinent (South Asia), the Iranian plateau (Southwest Asia), and Central Asia. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia. ... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu vs. ... In biological taxonomy, a phylum (Greek plural: phyla) is a taxon in the rank below kingdom and above class. ... Map showing the distribution of Niger-Congo languages The Niger-Congo languages constitute one of the worlds major language families, and Africas largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers, and number of distinct languages. ...

Contents

Official languages

The eleven official languages of South Africa are as follows (with the name used for each language, by speakers of that language, in brackets):

Afrikaans (Afrikaans), English, Ndebele (isiNdebele), Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Leboa), Sotho (Sesotho), Swati (siSwati), Tsonga (Xitsonga), Tswana (Setswana), Venda (Tshivenda), Xhosa (isiXhosa), Zulu (isiZulu).

The most common language spoken at home by South Africans is Zulu (24 percent speak Zulu at home), followed by Xhosa (18 percent), and Afrikaans (13 percent). English is only the sixth-most common home language in the country, but is understood in most urban areas and is the dominant language in government and the media. Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Ndebele language, or isiNdebele, or Sindebele, is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the AmaNdebele (the Ndebele people). ... Northern Sotho, Sepedi, or Sesotho sa Leboa, is one of the official languages of South Africa, and is spoken by 4,208,980 people (2001 Census Data), mostly in the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga. ... Sesotho (Sotho, Southern Sotho or Southern Sesotho[1]) is a Bantu language spoken primarily in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages, and in Lesotho, where it is the national language. ... Swati (siSwati in the language itself; Swazi in Zulu) is a Bantu language of the Nguni group spoken in Swaziland and South Africa. ... The Tsonga or Xitsonga language is spoken in southern Africa by the Tsonga people, also known as the Shangaan. ... Tswana (Setswana), is a Bantu language. ... Venda, also known as Tshivenda, or Luvenda, is a Bantu language. ... For the Xhosa people, see Xhosa. ... Zulu (called isiZulu in Zulu), is a language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ...


The majority of South Africans speak a language from one of the two principal branches of the Bantu languages represented in South Africa: the Sotho-Tswana branch (Sotho, Northern Sotho, Tswana), or the Nguni branch (Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Ndebele). For each of the two groups, the languages within that group are for the most part intelligible to a native speaker of any other language within that group. The Sotho-Tswana language group is a group of closely related Bantu languages spoken in Southern Africa, including Tswana (Setswana), Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Leboa), Sotho (Southern Sotho or Sesotho), and Lozi (Silozi or Rozi). ... For the cattle breed see Nguni cattle. ...


As can be seen from the accompanying maps, the nine indigenous African languages of South Africa can be divided into two geographical zones, with Nguni languages being predominant in the south-eastern third of the country (Indian Ocean coast) and Sotho languages being predominant in the northern third of the country located further inland, as also in Botswana and Lesotho. Gauteng is the most linguistically heterogeneous province, with roughly equal numbers of Nguni, Sotho and Indo-European language speakers. This has resulted in the spread of an urban argot, Tsotsitaal, in large urban townships in the province. Categories: South Africa stubs | Provinces of South Africa | Gauteng Province ... Tsotsitaal, or (isi)Camtho, is a patois mainly spoken in the townships of the Gauteng province in South Africa, such as Soweto. ...


Venda and Tsonga are neither Nguni nor Sotho-Tswana languages.


Afrikaans, a language derived from Dutch, is the most widely spoken language in the western third of the country (Western and Northern Cape). It is spoken not only by a majority of whites but also by about 90 percent of Coloured (multiracial) people in the country. Afrikaans is also spoken widely across the centre and north of the country, as a second (or third or even fourth) language by Black South Africans living in farming areas. Capital Cape Town Largest city Cape Town Premier Ebrahim Rasool Area - Total Ranked 4th 129,370 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 5th 4,524,335 35/km² Elevation Highest point: Seweweekspoort Peak at 2325 meters (7628 feet) Lowest point: sea level Languages Afrikaans (55. ... Capital Kimberley Largest city Kimberley Premier Elizabeth Dipuo Peters (ANC) Area - Total Ranked 1st 361,830 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 9th 822,726 2/km² Languages Afrikaans (70%) Tswana (20%) Xhosa (6. ... In the South African, Namibian, Zambian and Zimbabwean context, the term Coloured (also known as Bruinmense, Kleurlinge or Bruin Afrikaners in Afrikaans) refers to a heterogeneous group of people who posess some degree of sub-Saharan ancestry, but not enough to be considered Black under South African law. ... Actress Halle Berry was born to a white mother of British extraction and a black father of American extraction. ...


Other significant languages spoken in South Africa

The Constitution also recogni===ses a 0-=- non-official "national languages":

Fanagalo, Khoe, Lobedu (Khilobedu), Nama, Northern Ndebele (Sindebele), Phuthi (Siphuthi), San (Khoisan/Khoesan) languages, South African Sign Language.

In reality, the membership of this additional list above is very varied. SA Sign Language is an utterly distinct though incompletely emerged national standard language (SA Sign Language), but which also subsumes a ter of semi-standardised dialects. The status of SA Sign Language makes South Africa one of the few countries to have [[Legal recognition of sign languages|legal recognition of sign = cluster of languages. Lobedu has been claimed ==to Fanagalo is a semi-stable pidgin of uncertain contemporary status. Fanagalo or Fanakalo is one of a number of African pidgin languages that developed during the colonial period to promote ease of communication. ... Kxoe is a Khoisan language of Namibia, Angola, Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. ... Lobedu (also Lovedu or Selobedu) is a Bantu language regarded as a dialect of Northern Sotho (Sepedi). ... Nàmá, previously called Hottentot, is the most populous and widespread of the Khoisan languages. ... The Northern Ndebele language, or isiNdebele, or Sindebele, is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the Ndebele or Matabele people of Zimbabwe. ... Phuthi, also siPhuti is a Bantu Nguni language variety with Sotho influence spoken in scattered communities in the Eastern Cape / Lesotho borderland. ... The Khoisan languages (also Khoesaan languages) are the indigenous languages of southern and eastern Africa; in southern Africa their speakers are the Khoi and Bushmen (Saan). ... hi This page is a candidate for speedy deletion, because: it is patent nonsense. ...


Significant numbers of immigrants from Europe, elsewhere in Africa, and the Indian subcontinent means that a wide variety of other languages can also be found in parts of South Africa. In the older immigrant communities there are: Greek (ελληνικά), Gujarati, Hindi, Polish (polska), Portuguese (português), Tamil, Urdu (اُردو), Yiddish (ייִדיש), and smaller numbers of French (français) and German (Deutsch) speakers. For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... Map of South Asia (see note) This article deals with the geophysical region in Asia. ... Greek ( IPA: or simply IPA: — Hellenic) has a documented history of 3,500 years, the longest of any single language in the Indo-European language family. ... Gujarati (ગુજરાતી GujÇŽrātÄ«; also known as Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, and Guujaratee[3]) is an Indo-Aryan language descending from Sanskrit, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. ... Hindi (हिन्दी) is a language spoken mainly in North and Central India. ... Polish (jÄ™zyk polski, polszczyzna) is the official language of Poland. ... Portuguese (  or língua portuguesa) is a Romance language that originated in what is now Galicia (Spain) and northern Portugal from the Latin spoken by romanized Celtiberians about 1000 years ago. ... Tamil ( ; IPA ) is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamils in India and Sri Lanka, with smaller communities of speakers in many other countries. ... Urdu ( , , trans. ... Yiddish (Yid. ... French (français, langue française) is one of the most important Romance languages, outnumbered in speakers only by Spanish and Portuguese. ... German (called Deutsch in German; in German the term germanisch is equivalent to English Germanic), is a member of the western group of Germanic languages and is one of the worlds major languages. ...


These non-official languages may be used in limited semi-official use where it has been determined that these languages are prevalent. More importantly, these languages have significant local functions in specific communities whose identity is tightly bound around the linguistic and cultural identity that these non-official SA languages signal.


Of the listed non-official languages, the fastest growing are perhaps Portuguese - first spoken by white settlers and black and mestiço settlers and refugees from Angola and Mozambique after they won independence from Portugal and now by more recent immigrants from those countries again - and increasingly French, spoken by immigrants and refugees from Francophone Central Africa. Finally, more recently, many thousands of speakers of North, Central and West African languages have arrived in South Africa, mostly in the major cities, especially in Johannesburg and Pretoria, but also Cape Town and Durban. Languages Predominantly Spanish, (with a minority of other languages), while Mestizos speaks Portuguese Religions Christianity (Predominantly Roman Catholic, with a minority of Protestant and other Religions) Related ethnic groups Other Spanish people, Italian people, French people, Portuguese people, Amerindian, African people, Austronesian people, Hispanics and Latinos Mestizo (Portuguese, Mestiço... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ...  Western Africa (UN subregion)  Maghreb[1] West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Motto: Praestantia Praevaleat Pretoria (May Pretoria Be Pre-eminent In Excellence) Country South Africa Province Gauteng Established 1855 Area  - City 1,644 km²  (634. ... Nickname: Motto: Spes Bona (Latin for Good Hope) Location of the City of Cape Town in Western Cape Province Coordinates: , Country Province Municipality City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality Founded 1652 Government [1]  - Type City council  - Mayor Helen Zille  - City manager Achmat Ebrahim Area  - City 2,499 km²  (964. ... Map of South Africa showing Durbans location. ...


Extinct languages

, or ǀXam Kakǃʼe, is an extinct Khoisan language of South Africa, part of the ǃKwi language group. ... Seroa is an extinct Khoisan language of South Africa and Lesotho. ...

Constitutional provisions

Chapter 1 (Founding Provisions), Section 6 (Languages) of the Constitution of South Africa is the basis for government language policy. The English text of the constitution signed by president Nelson Mandela on 16 December 1996 curiously contains the names of the languages in the language of the language itself rather than English. Controversy surrounds the use of Sepedi as opposed to Sesotho sa Leboa (which was the wording in the 1994 interim constitution) in the text: The current and official Constitution of the Republic of South Africa was adopted on 8 May 1996. ... Many countries have a language policy designed to favour or discourage the use of a particular language or set of languages. ... Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (IPA: ) (born 18 July 1918) is the former President of South Africa, and the first to be elected in fully representative democratic elections. ... is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... This be the Danster with a few new trickoms ahahahahahahahahahahahahah Hace fun life life // January 1 - NAFTA goes into effect. ...

  1. The official languages of the Republic are Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu.
  2. Recognising the historically diminished use and status of the indigenous languages of our people, the state must take practical and positive measures to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages.
  3. (a) The national government and provincial governments may use any particular official languages for the purposes of government, taking into account usage, practicality, expense, regional circumstances and the balance of the needs and preferences of the population as a whole or in the province concerned; but the national government and each provincial government must use at least two official languages.
    (b) Municipalities must take into account the language usage and preferences of their residents.
  4. The national government and provincial governments, by legislative and other measures, must regulate and monitor their use of official languages. Without detracting from the provisions of subsection (2), all official languages must enjoy parity of esteem and must be treated equitably.
  5. A Pan South African Language Board established by national legislation must
    (a) promote, and create conditions for, the development and use of -
      (i) all official languages;
      (ii) the Khoi, Nama and San languages; and
      (iii) sign language; and
    (b) promote and ensure respect for -
      (i) all languages commonly used by communities in South Africa, including German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Portuguese, Tamil, Telegu and Urdu; and
      (ii) Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit and other languages used for religious purposes in South Africa.

Northern Sotho, Sepedi, or Sesotho sa Leboa, is one of the official languages of South Africa, and is spoken by 4,208,980 people (2001 Census Data), mostly in the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga. ... Sesotho is a language spoken in southern Africa. ... Tswana (Setswana), is a Bantu language. ... Swati (siSwati in the language itself; Swazi in Zulu) is a Bantu language of the Nguni group spoken in Swaziland and South Africa. ... Venda, also known as Tshivenda, or Luvenda, is a Bantu language. ... The Tsonga or Xitsonga language is spoken in southern Africa by the Tsonga people, also known as the Shangaan. ... Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Southern Ndebele language (isiNdebele or Nrebele in Southern Ndebele) is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the amaNdebele (the Ndebele people of South Africa). ... Xhosa is a language of South Africa. ... Zulu, also known as isiZulu, is a language of the Zulu people with about 9 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ... The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) was established in South Africa to promote multilingualism and language rights as well as to develop the official languages of South Africa. ... Gujarati (ગુજરાતી GujÇŽrātÄ«; also known as Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, and Guujaratee[3]) is an Indo-Aryan language descending from Sanskrit, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. ... Hindi (हिन्दी) is a language spoken mainly in North and Central India. ... Tamil ( ; IPA ) is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamils in India and Sri Lanka, with smaller communities of speakers in many other countries. ... Telugu (తెలుగు) is a Dravidian language (South-Central Dravidian languages) primarily spoken in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where it is the official language. ... Urdu ( , , trans. ... Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... A sacred language is a language, frequently a dead language, that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life. ...

Census

The 2001 census recorded the following home language speakers: Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 2001 Gregorian calendar). ... 1870 US Census for New York City A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population (not necessarily a human population). ...

Language Speakers %
Zulu 10 677 000 23.8%
Xhosa 7 907 000 17.6%
Afrikaans 5 983 000 13.3%
Northern Sotho 4 209 000 9.4%
Tswana 3 677 000 8.2%
English 3 673 000 8.2%
Sotho 3 555 000 7.9%
Tsonga 1 992 000 4.4%
Swati 1 194 000 2.7%
Venda 1 022 000 2.3%
Ndebele 712 000 1.6%
Other languages 217 000 0.5%
Total 44 820 000 100.0%

Zulu (called isiZulu in Zulu), is a language of the Zulu people with about 10 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ... For the Xhosa people, see Xhosa. ... Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia. ... Northern Sotho, Sepedi, or Sesotho sa Leboa, is one of the official languages of South Africa, and is spoken by 4,208,980 people (2001 Census Data), mostly in the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga. ... Tswana (Setswana), is a Bantu language. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Sesotho (Sotho, Southern Sotho or Southern Sesotho[1]) is a Bantu language spoken primarily in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages, and in Lesotho, where it is the national language. ... The Tsonga or Xitsonga language is spoken in southern Africa by the Tsonga people, also known as the Shangaan. ... Swati (siSwati in the language itself; Swazi in Zulu) is a Bantu language of the Nguni group spoken in Swaziland and South Africa. ... Venda, also known as Tshivenda, or Luvenda, is a Bantu language. ... The Southern Ndebele language (isiNdebele or Nrebele in Southern Ndebele) is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and spoken by the amaNdebele (the Ndebele people of South Africa). ...

External links

  • Introduction to the languages of South Africa
  • Ethnologue Listing of South African Languages
  • Project to translate Free and Open Source software into South African languages with live web-based translation
  • PanAfriL10n page on South Africa
  • The Language Museum
  • Statistics SA

  Results from FactBites:
 
South Africa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (6412 words)
South Africa is often referred to as The Rainbow Nation - a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and later elaborated upon by then-President Nelson Mandela as a metaphor to describe the country's newly-developing multicultural diversity in the wake of separatist apartheid ideology.
South Africa's most prevalent biome is grassland, particularly on the Highveld, where the plant cover is dominated by different grasses, low shrubs, and acacia trees, mainly camel-thorn and whitethorn.
South Africa is a middle-income country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange (the JSE Securities Exchange), that ranks among the 10 largest in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centres throughout the region.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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