Northern Sotho language


Northern Sotho language
Northern Sotho
Sesotho sa Leboa
Spoken in  South Africa
Region Gauteng
Limpopo
Mpumalanga
Native speakers 4.1 million  (2006)
Language family
Niger–Congo
Dialects
Lobedu
Official status
Official language in  South Africa
Regulated by Pan South African Language Board
Language codes
ISO 639-2 nso
ISO 639-3 nso
Geographical distribution of Sesotho sa Leboa in South Africa: proportion of the population that speaks Sesotho sa Leboa at home.
  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%
  60–80%
  80–100%
Geographical distribution of Sesotho sa Leboa in South Africa: density of Sesotho sa Leboa home-language speakers.
  <1 /km²
  1–3 /km²
  3–10 /km²
  10–30 /km²
  30–100 /km²
  100–300 /km²
  300–1000 /km²
  1000–3000 /km²
  >3000 /km²

Northern Sotho (a heteroglottonym, as its autoglottonym among native speakers is Sesotho sa Leboa, as reflected by its United Nations definition), also inaccurately known by the name of a major dialect, Pedi or sePedi, is one of the official languages of South Africa, and is spoken by 4,208,980 people (2001 Census Data) — in the South African provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga.

Contents

Classification

Northern Sotho is a language of the Bantu family within the Niger–Congo language phylum. Northern Sotho is specifically found within the Sotho languages branch of Zone S (S.30). Thus, this language is most closely related to Tswana (Setswana), Lozi (siLozi), Kgalagari (sheKgalagari) and Sotho (Sesotho/Southern Sotho). It includes several dialects.

Nomenclature

Northern Sotho is often, but erroneously, referred to as sePedi, since for some years after the new South African constitution appeared, Pedi (or sePedi) was the name used for Northern Sotho. There is thus some confusion as to which name to use.

The name "Pedi" is not, as some believe, synonymous with "Northern Sotho"; the official Northern Sotho language is intended to encompass approximately 30 closely related dialects, of which Pedi is but one. The name "Pedi" thus refers specifically to the language of the Pedi people, while Northern Sotho refers to the official language, which is a much broader category than merely Pedi. (Thus if speaking to a Pedi-speaker, it is not incorrect to say "Pedi", but if speaking about the official language, it is "Northern Sotho" or "Sesotho sa Leboa"). "Pedi" also refers to a ruling group which established its dominance over other groups in the eighteenth century, and to the culture and lifestyle of that group and of those over whom it ruled (see below).

Historically, the standard Northern Sotho language has been largely based on Pedi, as the missionaries who first developed the orthography had contact mainly with the Pedi people, and this is probably where the confusion originated. Further confusion arose when the South African constitution originally incorrectly cited "(se)Pedi" as being the official language. The Pan South African Language Board and the Northern Sotho National Lexicography Unit specifically endorse the names "Northern Sotho" or "Sesotho sa Leboa".

Non-Pedi dialects of Northern Sotho

Very little published information is available on non-Pedi dialects of the Northern Sotho language. These include seLobedu, seTlokwa, seBirwa, Pai and sePulana. The morphological and perhaps lexical variation across dialects of Northern Sotho has led some to claim that 'Northern Sotho' is a typological holding category for simply all the Sotho-ish languages and dialects of northeastern South Africa. Whether there is a coherent linguistic or ethnic identity among speakers of this range of languages is a matter for further research.

External links

Software


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Northern Ndebele language — This article is about the Nguni language spoken in Zimbabwe. For the Ndebele language spoken in South Africa, see Southern Ndebele language. Northern Ndebele isiNdebele Spoken in …   Wikipedia

  • Sotho language — Sesotho (Sotho, Southern Sotho, or Southern Sesothoor Suto , or Suthu , or Souto , or Sisutho , or Sutu , or Sesutu etc. by various authors and sources during various periods. The language s name has not changed for the last 200 years, though.] ) …   Wikipedia

  • Sotho — may refer to:*The Sotho people (or Basotho ), an African ethnic group principally resident in South Africa and Lesotho. *The Sotho language ( Sesotho or Southern Sotho ), a Bantu Language spoken in southern Africa, an official language of both… …   Wikipedia

  • Sotho — Sotho,   Basuto, zwei kulturell nahe verwandte, durch eigenständige historisch soziologische Entwicklung getrennte Bantuvölker im südlichen Afrika. Von den etwa 4,1 Mio. sehr einheitlichen Südsotho (Seshoeshoe) leben 2,1 Mio. in der Provinz… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Sotho du nord — Sesotho sa Leboa Parlée en Afrique du Sud Nombre de locuteurs 4,2 millions Classification par famille langues nigéro congolaises langues atlantico congolaises langues voltaïco congolaises langues bénoué congolaises …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sotho people — Basotho King Moshoeshoe I, founder of the Basotho nation. Total population 4.3 million (2001 estimate) Regions with significant populations South Africa 3,544,304 (2001 Census) Lesotho (c. 1.8 million) …   Wikipedia

  • Sotho-Tswana languages — 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).The Sotho… …   Wikipedia

  • Sotho-Tswana — The Sotho Tswana is the most commonly accepted name for a group of communities which speak Bantu languages living primarily in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Zambia. Language: See also: Sotho Tswana languages The differentiation between the… …   Wikipedia

  • Northern Ndebele people — This article is about the Matabele people. For other uses of the terms Ndebele or Matabele, please see Ndebele. Ndebele (Zimbabwe) Total population 4.5 million (2001 est. 1) Regions with significant populations Zimbabwe: 1.5 million (2001… …   Wikipedia

  • Northern Cape — For other uses, see North Cape (disambiguation). Northern Cape Noord Kaap (Afrikaans) Kapa Bokone(Tswana) Mntla Koloni (Xhosa) …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.