Tswana language

Tswana language

Infobox Language
states=flagicon|Botswana Botswana
flagicon|South Africa South Africa
flagicon|Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
flagicon|Namibia Namibia
region=southern Africa
fam7=Narrow Bantu
fam9=S group
nation=flagicon|Botswana Botswana
flagicon|South Africa South Africa

Tswana ("Setswana"), is a Bantu language written in the Latin Alphabet. Tswana is the national and majority language of Botswana, whose people are the Batswana (singular Motswana). Although Setswana is the official language of Botswana, the majority of Setswana speakers are actually in the country of South Africa. There are also speakers in Zimbabwe and Namibia. Internationally there are about 4 million speakers. Before South Africa became a multi-racial democracy, the bantustan of Bophuthatswana was set up to cover the Tswana speakers of South Africa.

Tswana is a Bantu language, belonging to the Niger-Congo language family. It is most closely related to two other languages in the Sotho language group, Sesotho (Southern Sotho) and Northern Sotho ("Sesotho sa Leboa"). It has also been known as Beetjuans, Chuana (hence Bechuanaland), Coana, Cuana, and Sechuana.

ome simple Tswana phrases

* "Dumela, rra/mma" - Hello, Sir/Madam.
* "O tsogile jang?" - Are you well? (How did you wake?)

Formal inquiry after health:
* "O tsogile jang?" - How are you? (literally, 'how did you awake?').
* "Ke tsogile sentle, rra/mma. Wena, o tsogile jang?" - I'm well, Sir/Madam. How are you?, OR I'm good/okay. How are you?(Replace "tsogile" with "tlhotse" for afternoon greetings.)

Informal inquiry after health:
* "Le kae?" - How are you? (literally translated 'Le kae?' also means 'Where are you?' when referring to more than one person)
* "Re teng, rra/mma" - We're well, Sir/Madam. (Ke teng, rra/mma for I am well.)

Casual slang:
* "O a re eng?" (pronounced 'wah-reng') -- How's it going?

Other useful phrases:
* "Ke a leboga, rra/mma." - Thank you, Sir/Madam (formal)
* "Ke itumetse, rra/mma." and "tanki" (slang) - Thanks, Sir/Madam (informal)
* "Leina la me ke _______." - My name is _____.
* "Leina la gago ke mang?" - What is your name? (formal)
* "O mang?" - What's your name? (informal)
* "Ke tshwerwe ke tlala." - I'm hungry (literally, 'I'm held by hunger')
* "Ke tshwerwe ke lenyora." - I'm thirsty (literally, 'I'm held by thirst')
* "Ke rata ___." - I like ___.
* "Ga ke rate___." - I don't like ___.
* "Ke batla ___." - I want ___.
* "Ga ke batle ____" - I do not want ____
* "Dijo tse di monate" - This food is good!
* "Lekgolo" - One Hundred
* "A re tsamaye!" - Let's go!
* "Kokelwana e ko kae?" - Where is the clinic?
* "Ke nako mang?" - What time is it?
* "Ke kopa thuso, tswee-tswee." - I need help, please.
* "A nka go thusa?" - May I help you?
* "A o ya ko ____?" - Are you going to _____?
* "____ ke eng ka Setswana?" - What is _____ in Setswana?

* "Robala sentle" - Sleep well
* "Boroko!" - Good night
* "Tsamaya sentle" - Go well (said to the person/group leaving)
* "Sala sentle" - Stay well (said to the person/group staying)

* "Morogo" - Vegetables
* "Motogo" - Porridge
* "Nama" - Meat
* "Dinawa" - Beans

Pronunciation tips:

* The "g" is pronounced as voiceless velar fricative IPA|/x/. This is reflected in the pronunciation of Botswana's capital, Gaborone.
* The "th" is pronounced as an aspirated plosive, IPA|/tʰ/
**The same aspiration rule is true for all other consonants used in combination with "h" (e.g., "ph", "sh", "tlh", etc.)
* The combination "tl" is pronounced as a voiceless alveolar lateral affricate IPA|/tɬ/.Tswana has six vowel sounds: /ə/, /ɛ/, /e/, /ɪ/, /o/ and /u/, represented by the letters a, e, e, i, o and u respectively.


As opposed to the Ndebele languages spoken in Zimbabwe and South Africa, there are no significant differences between standard Tswana as spoken in South Africa and standard Tswana as spoken in Botswana.

External links

* [http://www.panafril10n.org/wikidoc/pmwiki.php/PanAfrLoc/Tswana PanAfrican L10n page on Tswana]
* [http://africanlanguages.com/setswana/ African Languages page on Setswana (Tswana)]


* [http://translate.org.za/content/view/1610/54/ Spell checker for OpenOffice.org and Mozilla] , [http://translate.org.za/content/view/17/32/ OpenOffice.org] , [http://translate.org.za/content/view/1611/54/ Mozilla Firefox web-browser] , and [http://translate.org.za/content/view/1612/54/ Mozilla Thunderbird email program] in Tswana
* [http://translate.org.za/ Translate.org.za] Project to translate Free and Open Source Software into all the official languages of South Africa including Tswana
* [http://translate.org.za/content/view/24/41/ Keyboard with extra Tswana characters]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tswana — (Motswana, plural Batswana) is the name of a Southern African people. The Tswana language, also called Setswana, belongs to the Bantu group of the Niger Congo languages. Ethnic Batswana make up a majority of the population of Botswana. However,… …   Wikipedia

  • Tswana — /tswah neuh, swah /, n., pl. Tswanas, (esp. collectively) Tswana. 1. a member of a numerous people of Botswana and neighboring parts of South Africa. 2. the language of the Tswana, a Bantu language. * * * Westerly division of the Sotho peoples of …   Universalium

  • Tswana — /ˈtswanə/ (say tswahnuh) noun 1. a Bantu speaking people of the Sotho group of southern Africa, living mainly in Botswana. 2. (plural Tswana or Tswanas) a member of this people. 3. the language of this people, of the Bantu group of the Niger… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Tswana — noun (plural Tswana or Tswanas) Date: 1930 1. a member of a Bantu speaking people of Botswana and the Republic of South Africa 2. the language of the Tswana people …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • language — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) System of communication Nouns 1. language, tongue, lingo, vernacular, mother tongue, protolanguage; living or dead language; idiom, parlance, phraseology; wording; dialect, patois, cant, jargon, lingo,… …   English dictionary for students

  • Tswana — [ tswα:nə] noun (plural same, Tswanas, or Batswana) 1》 a member of a southern African people living in Botswana, South Africa, and neighbouring areas. 2》 (also Setswana) the language of the Tswana. Origin stem of Setswana moTswana, plural… …   English new terms dictionary

  • Tswana — Tswa•na [[t]ˈtswɑ nə, ˈswɑ [/t]] n. pl. nas, (esp. collectively) na. 1) peo a member of an African people, a division of the Sotho, living mainly in Botswana and in the Transvaal and Cape Province in South Africa 2) peo the Bantu language of the… …   From formal English to slang

  • Tswana — n. (also Setswana) 1 a southern African people living in Botswana and neighbouring areas. 2 a member of this people. 3 the Bantu language of this people. Usage: Setswana is now the preferred form for the language. Etymology: native name …   Useful english dictionary

  • Tswana — noun /ˈtswɑːnə,ˈswɑːnə/ a) A Bantu people living in Botswana and South Africa. b) The Bantu language of these people; Setswana. Syn: Setswana See Also …   Wiktionary

  • Tswana — ISO 639 3 Code : tsn ISO 639 2/B Code : tsn ISO 639 2/T Code : tsn ISO 639 1 Code : tn Scope : Individual Language Type : Living …   Names of Languages ISO 639-3

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