Tswana, also known as Setswana, is a Bantu language. Tswana is the national and majority language of Botswana, whose people are the Batswana (singular Motswana). The majority of Tswana speakers are in South Africa (where it is an official language), but 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.
Setswana is one of the so-called Bantu languages, 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.
Some simple Tswana phrases
- Dumela, rra/mma - Hello, Sir/Madam.
Formal inquiry after health:
- O tsogile jang? - How are you? (literally, 'how did you awake?').
- Ke tsogile sentle, rra/mma - I'm very well, Sir/Madam.
Informal inquiry after health:
- Le kae? - How are you?
- Re teng, rra/mma - I'm very well, Sir/Madam.
- Ethnologue on Tswana http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=TSW
- Tswana language Wikipedia http://ts.wikipedia.org
Last updated: 05-02-2005 12:09:23