Botswana

Print
Afrikaans
[afr] Virtually all of Kgalagadi and Ghanzi districts; small area in Southern district: southwest of Khakea; west North West district along Namibian border; Central and Kgatleng districts, north of Limpopo river; possibly in Takatokwane area. 20,000 in Botswana (2006). Status: 5 (Dispersed). Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, Low Saxon-Low Franconian, Low Franconian Comments: Christian.

More Information

||Ani
[hnh] North West district: Khwai river, Mababe; near Khwe [xuu] language area. 1,000 (Brenzinger 1998). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: |Anda, Handá, Handádam, Handa-Khwe, Handakwe-Dam, Ts’exa, Ts’éxa Dialects: None known. Related to Khwe [xuu]. Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Northwest Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Birwa
[brl] Central district: Bobonong subdistrict; east of Selebi-Phikwe in Bobonong, Kobojango, Semolale, Motalatau, and Mathathane. 15,000 in Botswana (2004 R. Cook). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.32)

More Information

English
[eng] 4,000 in Botswana (2006). L2 users: 630,000 in Botswana (Crystal 2003). Status: 1 (National). De facto national language. Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English

More Information

||Gana
[gnk] Ghanzi district: New Xadi and Ghanzi, Ghanzi commercial farms, Central Kalahari Game Reserve; Central district: Boteti subdistrict, cattleposts south and west of Rakops; east of Naro, north of |Gwi language area. 2,000 (2004 R. Cook). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Dxana, G||ana, G||ana-Khwe, Gxana, Gxanna, Kanakhoe Dialects: |Khessákhoe, Domkhoe, G||aakhwe (Balanka, G||aa), G||anakhwe (Kanakhoe). Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Southwest

More Information

Gciriku
[diu] North West district; extreme northwest, west and north borders with Namibia. 2,000 in Botswana (2004 R. Cook). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Diriko, Diriku, Mbogedo, Mbogedu, Rugciriku, Rumanyo, Shimbogedu Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Luyana (K.332)

More Information

|Gwi
[gwj] Kweneng district: Dutlwe, Serinane, Takotokwane, Kautwane, Khekhenye, Letihakeng, Morwamosu, and Tsetseng; Ghanzi district: New Xade, East Hanahai, and Kacgae. 2,500 (2004 R. Cook). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Dcui, G!wikwe, G|wi, G|wikhwe, Gcwi Dialects: Khute. Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Southwest

More Information

Herero
[her] Scattered among other ethnic groups; Ghanzi district: Charles Hill, Ghanzi, Makunda, Dryhoek, New Kanagas, Dekar; North West district: Maun, Gomare, Sehitwa, Makakung, Nokaneng, Shakawe, Nxaunxau, and western cattleposts; Central district: Mahalapye, Toromoja, Rakops, Mokoboxane, Letlhakane; Kgalagadi district: Tsabong, Omaweneno, Werd; Kgatleng district: Morwa. 31,000 in Botswana (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Ochiherero, Otjiherero Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, R, Herero (R.30) Comments: Spoken by the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu peoples. Glossonym: Damara, erroneous. Most came as refugees from Namibia in the early 1900s. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

‡Hua
[huc] Southern Kalahari desert, Kweneng district; Central district: southwest Mahalapye subdistrict, Sasi. 200 (2004 R. Cook), decreasing. Status: 7 (Shifting). Alternate Names: |Hû, |Hua, ‡Hoa, ‡Hoã, ‡Hoan, ‡Hua-Owani Dialects: ‡Hua, Sasi. Related to !Xóõ [nmn]. Classification: Kx’a

More Information

Ju|’hoan
[ktz] North West district: west of Nokaneng; Ghanzi district: Grootelaagte, Kanagas, Ghanzi, and commercial farms. 5,000 in Botswana (2002). Population total all countries: 33,600. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: !Xo, Dobe Kung, Dzu’oasi, Ju’oasi, Kung, Kung-Tsumkwe, Tsumkwe, Xaixai, Xû, Xun, Zhu’oasi Dialects: ‡Kx’au||’ein (||Au||ei, ||X’au||’e, ‡Kx’au||’ei, Auen, Kaukau, Koko, Kung-Gobabis), Dzu’oasi (Ssu Ghassi, Zhu’oase), Nogau (Agau). Classification: Kx’a, !Kung Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Kalanga
[kck] Eastern third of Central and entire North East districts; southeast North West district; Lilima mainly in Botswana. 150,000 in Botswana (2004 R. Cook). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Chikalanga, Ikalanga, Kalaka, Sekalaka, Sekalaña, Tjikalanga Dialects: Ikalanga, Lilima (Humbe), Nyai (Nyayi, Rozvi), Peri, Talahundra. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Shona (S.16) Comments: Different from Holoholo [hoo] of Democratic Republic of the Congo.

More Information

Kgalagadi
[xkv] South and central, along South Africa border, north Kgalagadi district: west Kweneng; Southern district; Ghanzi district: Ghanzi, Kanagas, Tsotsha, Kuke, Karakobis, Ncojane, Kule, Charles Hill, New Xade, Dekar, and Grootlaagte; North West district: Sehitwa and Maun. 40,000 in Botswana (2004 R. Cook). Population total all countries: 40,100. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Kgalagarhi, Kgalagari, Khalagari, Khalakadi, Kxhalaxadi, Qhalaxarzi, Sekgalagadi, Shekgalagadi, Shekgalagari Dialects: Balaongwe (Boloongwe), Kenyi (Khena), Kgalagadi (Kgalagari), Kgwatheng, Khakhae, Koma, Ngologa, Pedi, Phaleng, Rhiti, Shaga, Shelala, Siwane (Gyegwana), Tjhauba. Ngologa is the largest dialect and may be a separate language. Different from Tswana [tsn]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.311) Comments: Christian.

More Information

Khoekhoe
[naq] Kgalagadi district: Tsabong, Makopong, Omaweneno, Tshane; Ghanzi district: villages along Ghanzi-Mamuno road. 200 in Botswana (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Bergdamara, Dama, Damaqua, Damara, “Hottentot” (pej.), Khoekhoegowab, “Kupkaferrn” (pej.), “Kupkaffer” (pej.), Nama, Namakwa, Naman, Namaqua, Tama, Tamakwa, Tamma Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Khoekhoe, Nama

More Information

Khwe
[xuu] North West district: Gan, Cadikarauwe, Mohembo, Shakawe, Kaputura, |Ao-Kyao, Sikondomboro, Ngarange, Sekanduko, Xongoa, Cauwe, Moxatce, Dungu, Seronga, Beyetca, Gudigoa, Sicokora, Geixa, ||Qom-ca, Tobere, ‡Umbexa, Djaxo, and Kangwara. 1,600 in Botswana (2010 LBT). Children and elderly are monolingual. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Basarwa, Khoe, Kxoe, “Mbarakwena” (pej.), “Water Bushmen” (pej.), Xun Dialects: Buga-Kxoe (||Ani-Khoe, ||Anikxoe, Boga, Buga-Khwe, Bukakhwe, Gani-Khwe, “River Bushman” (pej.), Tannekwe). Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Northwest Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Kua
[tyu] Central district: especially Mahalapye, Serowe subdistricts; Northeast district. Primarily cattleposts and settlements. 820 (2004 R. Cook). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: “Basarwa” (pej.), Cua, “Masarwa” (pej.), Tyhua, Tyua Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Northeast Comments: Nomadic. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Kuhane
[sbs] North West district: Chobe subdistrict, co-extensive with Lozi [loz] language area. 3,000 in Botswana (2006). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Chikuhane, Echisubia, Ikuhane, Kuahane, Kwahane, Sesubea, Subia, Subiya, Supia Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Subiya-Totela (K.42) Comments: Glossonym: Subiya by Tswana [tsn]. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Lozi
[loz] North West district: Chobe subdistrict (co-extensive with Kuhane). 14,000 in Botswana (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Lozi (K.21)

More Information

Mbukushu
[mhw] North West district: north of Gomare within 30 km of Okavango river. 20,000 in Botswana (2004 R. Cook). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Gova, Kusso, Mambukush, Mampukush, Mbukuhu, Mbukushi, Thimbukushu Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Luyana (K.333) Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Nambya
[nmq] Central district: west and southeast of Nata town, also along Nata river watershed; small southeast corner area in North West district. 15,000 in Botswana (2004 R. Cook). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Chinambya, Nambzya, Nanzva Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Shona (S.16) Comments: Christian.

More Information

Naro
[nhr] Ghanzi district: Ghanzi, Bere, Dekar, East Hanahai, West Hanahai, Kuke, New Kanagas, Tshobokwane, Makunda, Grootelaagte, Karakobis, Kanagas, Charles Hill, and commercial farms; south North West district. 8,000 in Botswana (2014 H. Visser). Population total all countries: 12,000. L2 users: Speakers of other Khoisan languages in Ghanzi District. Status: 3 (Wider communication). Alternate Names: ||Ai||e, ||Ai||en, ||Aikwe, ||Aisan, |Aikwe, Nharo, Nharon, Nhauru, Nhaurun Dialects: N|hai-Ntse’e (N||hai, Ts’ao), Qabekhoe (!Kabbakwe, Qabekho), Ts’aokhoe (Tsaokhwe, Tsaukwe). Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Southwest Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Ndebele
[nde] Central district: bordering Zimbabwe; North West district: Chobe area; North East district: a few villages. 17,000 in Botswana (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Isinde’bele, Northern Ndebele, Sindebele, Tabele, Tebele Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Nguni (S.44)

More Information

Shua
[shg] Central district: Tutume subdistrict, Nata, Gweta; Boteti subdistrict, Motopi, Popipi, Mokoboxane, Mmatshumu, Letlhakane; very small area, southeast North West district. 6,000 (2004 R. Cook). 100 Danisi (Voegelin and Voegelin 1977). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Mashuakwe, Shua-Khwe, Tshumakwe Dialects: ||’Aiye (|Aaye), |Oree-Khwe (|Koree-Khoe, |Oree), |Xaise (|Ais, |Hais, |Haise, |Taise), Cara, Danisi (Danisa, Danisis, Demisa, Madenassa, Madenasse, Madinnisane), Deti, Ganádi, N|oo-Khwe (N||ookhwe, N|oo), Shua-Khwe (Mashuakwe), Tshidi-Khwe (Shete Tsere, Sili, Tcaiti, Tsh’iti), Ts’ixa. Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, North-Central

More Information

Tsoa
[hio] Central district: especially Mahalapye and Serowe subdistricts; northeast Kweneng district, extending into bordering areas in Ghanzi and Kgatleng districts; primarily cattleposts and settlements. 3,000 in Botswana (2006). Population total all countries: 6,540. Status: 7 (Shifting). Alternate Names: Chuwau, Chware, G||abake, Gabake-Ntshori, Haitshuari, Hietshware, Hiochuwau, Hiotshuwau, Kwe, Kwe-Etshori Kwee, Kwe-Tshori, Tati, Tati Bushman, Tshuwau, Tshwa Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Northeast Comments: Nomadic. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Tswana
[tsn] Widespread as lingua franca; Southeast and Kgatleng districts; east Southern and Kweneng districts, Central district: Serowe-Palapye and Mahalapye subdistricts; Northwest district: Maun village area. 1,070,000 in Botswana (Johnstone 1993). Population total all countries: 5,181,700. L2 users: 150,000 in Botswana. Status: 1 (National). De facto national language. Alternate Names: Beetjuans, Chuana, Coana, Cuana, Sechuana, Setswana Dialects: Kgatla, Kwena, Lete, Ngwaketse, Ngwatu (Ngwato), Rolong, Sehurutshe, Tawana, Tlahaping (Thlaping, Tlapi), Tlokwa. High intelligibility among Southern Sotho [sot], Northern Sotho [nso], and Tswana. Standard Tswana is based on the Sehurutshe dialect and is nearly identical to it. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.31) Comments: 90%–95% of children complete standard 7 in primary school. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Tswapong
[two] Central district: Mahalapye subdistrict; all villages east of Mahalapye; Kgatleng district northeast corner. 2,000 (Andersson and Janson 1997). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Setswapong Dialects: Reportedly some similarities to Northern Sotho [nso] and Tswana [tsn], but not clearly a dialect of either. Some intelligibility of northern dialect speakers of Tswana (Sengwato and Setawana), and of a northwestern dialect of Northern Sotho. Some Birwa [brl] and Tswapong [two] say their varieties are more similar to one another than to Tswana or Northern Sotho. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.32) Comments: Several groups: the Ramokgonami, Maifela, Chadibe, Sefbare, Tupsa.

More Information

!Xóõ
[nmn] South Ghanzi district; north Kgalagadi district; west Southern and Kweneng districts. 2,000 in Botswana (2011 C. Naumann). Population total all countries: 2,500. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Ng|amani, Tsasi Dialects: !Kwi, Auni (|Auni, |Auo), Kakia (Masarwa), Ki|hazi, Ng|u||en (||U||en, |Nu||en, |U||en, Ng|u|ei, Nu||en), Nusan (Ng|usan, Noosan, Nu-San), Xatia (|Eikusi, |Kusi, Katia, Kattea, Khatia, Vaalpens). Classification: Tuu, Taa Comments: Nusan are in Botswana. Nu||en dialect is extinct. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Yeyi
[yey] North West district: Maun, Shorobe up to Mababe, Sankoyo, Daunara, Nokaneng, Gumare, Sepopo, Ikoga, Shakawe, and Seronga; Central district: Letihakane, Xumu, Rakops, Motopi. 20,000 in Botswana (2001 LBT). Population total all countries: 55,000. Ethnic population: 47,000. L2 users: Few speak Yeyi as L2. Status: 6b (Threatened). Alternate Names: Ciyei, “Koba” (pej.), “Kuba” (pej.), “Sekoba” (pej.), Seyeyi, Shiyeyi, Siyei, Yeei, Yei Dialects: Shirwanga. Not closely related to other languages. Lexical similarity: 47% with Luyana [lyn], 30% with Herero [her]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, R, Yeyi (R.41) Comments: Christian.

More Information

Zezuru
[sna] Northern Central and northeast North West districts. 11,000 in Botswana (2004 R. Cook). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Shona Dialects: Karanga. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Shona (S.10)

More Information