FACTOID # 17: Though Rhode Island is the smallest state in total area, it has the longest official name: The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Tsonga language
Tsonga
Spoken in: Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe
Region: Limpopo, Mpumalanga
Total speakers: 1,646,000
Language family: Niger-Congo
 Atlantic-Congo
  Volta-Congo
   Benue-Congo
    Bantoid
     Southern
      Narrow Bantu
       Tsonga 
Official status
Official language of: South Africa
Regulated by: no official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1: ts
ISO 639-2: tso
ISO 639-3: tso

The Tsonga or Xitsonga language is spoken in southern Africa by the Tsonga people, also known as the Shangaan. Capital Polokwane Largest city Polokwane Area  - Total Ranked 5th 123,900 km² Premier Mbhazima Shilowa (ANC) Population   - 2001   - 1996   - Density (2001) Ranked 4th 5,273,637 4,929,368 43/km² (Ranked 3rd) Languages Races Black (97. ... Mpumalanga, (name changed from Eastern Transvaal on 24 August 1995), is a province in South Africa. ... Current distribution of Human Language Families A language family is a group of related languages said to have descended from a common proto-language. ... 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. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... In the classification of African languages, Volta-Congo is the major branch (in terms of number of languages) of the Niger-Congo phylum. ... The Benue-Congo group of languages constitutes the largest branch of the Niger-Congo language family, both in terms of sheer number of languages, of which 938 are known (not counting mere dialects), and in terms of speakers, numbering perhaps 550 million. ... In the classification of African languages, Bantoid is a branch of the Benue-Congo subfamily of the Niger-Congo phylum. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Unicode is an industry standard allowing computers to consistently represent and manipulate text expressed in any of the worlds writing systems. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... The Shangaan (Vatsonga or Vitsonga) are a large group of people living mainly in southern Mozambique in Maputo and in Gaza Province; there is also a large Shangaan grouping in Limpopo Province in South Africa. ...

Contents

Classification

Tsonga belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo languages. Speakers are sometimes called Shangaans, which according to them (Tsongas) is wrong as they use that denominator for Tsongas who live in Mozambique. Most of the Tsongas now live in Giyani, a place in Limpopo province in South Africa. Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (dull yellow) vs. ... 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. ... Capital Polokwane Largest city Polokwane Area  - Total Ranked 5th 123,900 km² Premier Mbhazima Shilowa (ANC) Population   - 2001   - 1996   - Density (2001) Ranked 4th 5,273,637 4,929,368 43/km² (Ranked 3rd) Languages Races Black (97. ...


Geographic distribution

Tsonga is spoken by about 1,646,000 people in South Africa's Limpopo province, as well as 1.5 million people in Mozambique, and 19,000 people in Swaziland. There are also 100,000 speakers in Zimbabwe. Capital Polokwane Largest city Polokwane Area  - Total Ranked 5th 123,900 km² Premier Mbhazima Shilowa (ANC) Population   - 2001   - 1996   - Density (2001) Ranked 4th 5,273,637 4,929,368 43/km² (Ranked 3rd) Languages Races Black (97. ...


Official status

Tsonga is an official language in South Africa.


Dialects

Various dialects of Tsonga are spoken as far north as the Save River in Zimbabwe and as far south as KwaZulu/Natal. While most dialects are mutually intelligible, they do have distinct differences that are geographical as well as based on influence of the colonial era. The three most distinct dialects are Xironga, which is spoken in Maputo, Mozambique, and the surrounding areas; Xitshwa/Chihlengwe, spoken in Zimbabwe and in Mozambique; and xiTsonga, which is spoken in South Africa. Maputo is the capital of Mozambique. ...


These dialects differ in pronunciation. For example, in South African Tsonga the use of the prefix "xi" is pronounced "shi" in Xikwembu (God). In Zimbabwe this prefix is pronounced "chi", as in "Chikwembu" (God). South African Tsonga also uses consonant combinations like "nk", "mp", "ns" as in nkhensa (thank), nyimpi (war), and nsiha (vein). In Zimbabwe the equivalents are khesa, nyipi, and siha.


All dialects have been influenced to different degrees by Zulu and, in Zimbabwe, by Ndebele, and so Tsonga now contains click consonants. These words are not indigenous to the language but are understood when used. Unlike the case in Zulu and Ndebele, where there are distinct clicks, in Tsonga one need only make a clicking sound for any click word adopted. Examples of imported click words are: ngqondo (mind), gqoka (wear/dress), ncingo (phone), qamba (compose) Mugqivela (Saturday). Zulu (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 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). ... Clicks are stops produced with two articulatory closures in the oral cavity. ...


Tsonga has been characterized by some linguists as a "whistling language" similar to Shona in that it contains certain sounds such as "sw/sv", tsw/tsv", "dzw/dzv", sounds which occur throughout the language.


Tsonga classes

Tsonga has several classes, much like other Bantu languages, which are learned through memorization mostly. These are:

1a mu munhu/person mufana/boy murhangeli/leader
1b va vanhu/people vafana/boys varhangeli/leaders
2a yi nseve/arrow nenge/leg nambo/river
2b mi miseve/arrows milenge/legs milambo/rivers
3a ri tiko/country rito/word vito/name
3b ma matiko/countries marito/words mavito/names
4a xi Xikwembu/God xilo/thing xitulu/stool
4b svi Swikwembu/gods swilo/things switulu/stools
5a yi yindlu/house mbyana/dog homu/cow
5b ti tindlu/houses timbyana/dogs tihomu/cows
6 ku ku tshemba/trust ku dya/ to eat ku biha/ugliness
7 vu vutomi/life vumunhu/humanness vululami - righteousness

Grammar

The grammar is generally typical of Bantu languages with a subject/object/verb order In linguistic typology, subject-verb-object (SVO) is a sentence structure where the subject comes first, the verb second, and the object third. ...

Tsonga English
Ndza ku rhandza I love you
Wa ndzi rhandza you love me
Ha ku tiva we know you
Va ndzi tiva they know me

Personal Pronouns

These are very similar to many other Bantu languages with a few variations

Tsonga English
Ni(informal spoken)/Ndzi(formal) Mina I Me
U Wena You You
U Yena He/She Him/Her
Hi Hina We Us
Mi N'wina You(Plural) You(plural)
Va Vona They They

tana haleno - come here


Verbs

All verbs have the prefix "ku" and end with an 'a' in the infinitive, with a couple of exceptions. In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. ...

Tsonga English
ku chava to fear
ku tsaka to be happy
ku rhandza to love

The main exception to this is the verb "ku ri" - "to say" It corresponds to "ti" in many other bantu languages. Examples of its usage include; u ri yini? - what do you say?(what are you saying?) ndzi ri ka n'wina - i say to you all


In many instances the "ri" is often omitted and thus "ku" on its own can also me "say" Va ri ndza penga - they say i'm crazy Va ri yini? - what do they say?(what are they saying?)


Numerals

Tsonga English
Nwe one
Mbirhi two
Nharhu three
Mune four
Ntlhanu five
Ntsevu six
Nkombo seven
Nhungu eight
Nkaye nine
Khume ten
Khume na n'we / Khume-n'we eleven
Khume na mbirhi / Khume-mbirhi twelve
Khume na nharhu / Khume-nharhu thirteen
Makhume mambhirhi / Makume-mbirhi twenty
Makhume manharhu / Makume-nharhu thirty
Mune wa makhume forty
Tlhanu wa makhume fifty
Dzana hundred
Gidi thousand

Months of the Year

Tsonga English
Nsunguti January
Nyenyenyani February
Nyenyankulu March
Dzivamusoko April
Mudyaxihi May
Khotavuxika June
Mawuwani July
Mhawuri August
Ndzhati September
Nhlangula October
Hukuri November
N'wendzamhala December

Vocabulary

XiTsonga, like many other African languages, have been influenced by various European colonial languages. XiTsonga includes words borrowed from English, Afrikaans, and Portuguese. Also, because of the influence of other more dominant neighbouring languages, XiTsonga has taken some words, especially click words, from isiZulu.


Words Borrowed from English: Tivhi - Television Rediyo - Radio xitulu - Chair(Stool) Wachi - watch(to tell time) Movha - car(automobil) Sokisi - socks Gilazi - glass tliloki - clock masipala - municipal makiyi - keys



Words Borrowed from Afrikaans lekere - sweets(lekker) fasitere - window(fastere) lepula - spoon(lepel) kereke - church(kerk) buluku - trousers(?) dhomu - idiot(dom) tafula - table(tafel) xipoko - ghost(spook)


Words Borrowed from Zulu: nçingo - phone kuqonda - to head towards kugcina - to end kuzama - to try


Writing system

Tsonga uses the Latin alphabet. However, certain sounds are spelled using a combination of letter, which either do not exist in the European colonial language, or may be meant to distinguish the language somewhat.


An example of this is the letter "x" which is pronounced as the English "sh". Therefore the following words, -shusha, shikolo, shilo, are written in Tsonga as -xuxa, xikolo, and xilo. This may be from the Portuguese influence in Mozambique where a majority of Tsonga speakers live. In Portuguese the "x" is pronounced the same way in words such as "caixa"(box) and "baixo"(under)


Other spelling differences include the letter "c" which equates to the sound of the English "ch". However, where the emphasis of a word is on the following vowel the letter is hardened by adding "h" this the Tsonga word -chava(fear)


A sound equivalent to the Welsh "ll" is written "hl" in Tsonga, e.g. -hlangana(meet), -hlasela(attack), -hleka(laugh)


A whistling sound common in the language is written "sw" or "sv" in Zimbabwean chishona. This sound actually belongs to the "x-sw" class within the language e.g. xilo(thing) - swilo(things)

 xikolo(school) - swikolo(schools) Xikwembu(God) - swikwembu(gods) 

Another whistling sound is spelled "dy" but has no English equivalent, the closest being the "dr" sound in the English word "drive"


An important note is that Tsonga has been standardized as a written language. However, due to the fairly recent nature of that standardization there still exist many dialects within the language that may not pronounce words as written. For example, the Tsonga bible uses the word "byela"(tell), pronounced bwe-la, however a large group of speakers would say "dzvela/dyela" instead.


The Lord's Prayer as written in the xiTsonga Bible(Bibele )


Tata wa hina la nge tilweni, vito ra wena a ri hlawuleke; a ku te ku fuma ka wena; ku rhandza ka wena a ku endliwe misaveni, tanihi loko ku endliwa tilweni u hi nyika namuntlha vuswa bya hina bya siku rin'wana ni rin'wana; u hi rivalela swidyoho swa hina, tanihi loko na hina hi rivalela lava hi dyohelaka; u nga hi yisi emiringweni kambe u hi ponisa eka Lowo biha, [hikuva ku fuma, ni matimba, no ku twala i swa wena hi masiku ni masiku. Amen]


External links

Wikipedia
Tsonga language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wiktionary
Tsonga language edition of Wiktionary, the free dictionary/thesaurus
  • Ethnologue on Tsonga

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1058x1058, 477 KB) aa Wikipedia logo, version 1058px square, no text Wikipedia logo by Nohat (concept by Paullusmagnus); compare Wikipedia File links The following pages link to this file: Arabic language Talk:Anarcho-capitalism Talk:Algorithm Talk:Anno Domini Talk:The... Wikipedia (IPA: , or ( ) is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 150 languages. ...

Software & localization

  • Spell checker for OpenOffice.org and Mozilla, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox web-browser, and Mozilla Thunderbird email program in Tsonga
  • Translate.org.za Project to translate Free and Open Source Software into all the official languages of South Africa including Tsonga
  • PanAfriL10n page on Tsonga

  Results from FactBites:
 
Tsonga language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (132 words)
Tsonga belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo languages.
Tsonga is spoken by about 1,646,000 people in South Africa's Limpopo province, as well as 1.5 million people in Mozambique, and 19,000 people in Swaziland.
Tsonga is an official language in South Africa.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m