South Africa

Print
Afrikaans
[afr] Widespread, but fewer speakers in East Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. 6,860,000 in South Africa (2011 census), decreasing. Population total all countries: 7,096,810. L2 users: 10,300,000 in South Africa. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Art 6(1)). Dialects: Cape Afrikaans (West Cape Afrikaans), East Cape Afrikaans, Orange River Afrikaans. A variant of the Dutch [nld] spoken by the 17th century colonists, with some lexical and syntactic borrowings from Malay [zlm], Bantu languages, Khoisan languages, Portuguese [por], and other European languages. Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, Low Saxon-Low Franconian, Low Franconian Comments: Muslim, Christian.

More Information

Birwa
[brl] Northern province: Capricorn district; near Zimbabwe border. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.32)

More Information

Camtho
[cmt] Gauteng province: Soweto, Johannesburg, other urban settings. No known L1 speakers. Status: 9 (Second language only). Alternate Names: Iscamtho, Isicamtho, Tsotsitaal Dialects: None known. Developed in the 1980s from the original Flaaitaal [fly], and sometimes called Tsotsitaal. Also described as a basically Zulu [zul] or Sotho language with heavy code switching and many English [eng] and Afrikaans [afr] content morphemes. Classification: Mixed language, Zulu-Bantu

More Information

English
[eng] KwaZulu-Natal province; Tugela river to Port Edward area, and inland to Eastern Cape province; urban concentrations, Johannesburg, suburbs; Gauteng province: Cape Town area; Western Cape province. 4,890,000 in South Africa (2011 census). L2 users: 11,000,000 in South Africa (Crystal 2003). Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English

More Information

Flaaitaal
[fly] Gauteng province: Johannesburg area; Pretoria, Bloemfontein and other cities. Status: 9 (Dormant). Alternate Names: Flaai Taal, Fly Taal, Tsotsitaal Dialects: None known. Not intelligible of Afrikaans [afr]. Used many Afrikaans, English [eng], and Bantu words, and others of unknown origin. Classification: Creole, Afrikaans based Comments: ‘Tsotsitaal’, speech of a young gang member, criminal, or thug.

More Information

Gail
[gic] Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and Western Cape provinces; mainly urban settings: Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, and Port Elizabeth. No known L1 speakers. L2 users: 20,000. Status: 9 (Second language only). Dialects: None known. In Johannesburg more English based, in Pretoria more Afrikaans [afr] based. May be related to Polari [pld] in the United Kingdom. Classification: Unclassified Comments: An in-group language.

More Information

Hindi
[hin] KwaZulu-Natal province. 361,000 in South Africa (2003). Status: 5 (Dispersed). Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Western Hindi, Hindustani Comments: Has Bhojpuri [bho] features in South Africa. Hindu.

More Information

Khoekhoe
[naq] Northern Cape province. 50,900 in South Africa (2006). Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Bergdamara, Dama, Damaqua, Damara, “Hottentot” (pej.), Khoekhoegowap, Khoi, Nama, Namakwa, Naman, Namaqua, Tama, Tamakwa, Tamma Dialects: Gimsbok Nama. Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Khoekhoe, Nama

More Information

Khwe
[xuu] Northern Cape province: Smithsdrift and Platfontein. 1,200 in South Africa (2010 LBT). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Barakwena, Barakwengo, Basarwa, Khoe, Kxoe, Mbarakwena, Mbarakwengo, Water Bushmen, Xun Dialects: ||Ani, Kxoedam. Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Northwest Comments: Refugees from Caprivi, Namibia, since 1991 living in tents.

More Information

Korana
[kqz] Northern Cape province. No known L1 speakers. Ethnic population: 10,000 (1972 D. Barrett, M. Hronek, G. Mambo et al.). Status: 9 (Dormant). Alternate Names: !Kora, !Ora, Gorachouqua, Koranna, Koraqua Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Khoekhoe, Nama Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Ndebele
[nbl] Mpumalanga and Gauteng (Nkangala district) provinces: northeast of Pretoria. 1,090,000 (2011 census). L2 users: 1,400,000. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Alternate Names: Isikhethu, IsiNdebele, Ndzundza, Nrebele, Southern Ndebele, Transvaal Ndebele Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Nguni (S.407) Comments: Different from Ndebele [nde] of Zimbabwe.

More Information

N|u
[ngh] Northern Cape province: Mgcawu district; Askham area, at Andriesvale, Witdraai, Olifantshoek, Upington, and other villages. 12 (2005 N. Crawhall), decreasing. Ethnic population: 500 (1998 N. Crawhall). Status: 8b (Nearly extinct). Alternate Names: ‡Khomani, Nghuki, Ng’uki Dialects: ||Ng!ke (||Ng, |Ing|ke, Ng||-|e), |’Auni, N|u. Reportedly similar to |Xam [xam]. Classification: Tuu, !Ui Comments: ‡Khomani’ is the ethnic group name. Ng’uki is an incorrect name. The |’Auni dialect has no remaining speakers. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Oorlams
[oor] Mpumalanga province. 32,000 (2006). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Classification: Creole, Afrikaans based

More Information

Pidgin Bantu
[fng] Gauteng province: suburban Johannesburg and mining areas. L2 users: Several hundred thousand L2 speakers in South Africa (Reinecke et al. 1975). Status: 3 (Wider communication). Alternate Names: Basic Zulu, “Fanagalo” (pej.), Fanagoloi, “Fanakalo” (pej.), “Fanekolo” (pej.), “Isikula” (pej.), Isilololo, Isipiki, Lololo, Piki, Silunguboi Dialects: Zambia dialect is called Cikabanga; in Zimbabwe, it is called, Chilapalapa. Influenced by Shona [sna] in Zimbabwe. About 70% of the vocabulary in Zimbabwe comes from Zulu [zul], 24% from English [eng], 6% from Afrikaans [afr]. Influenced by Bemba [bem] in Zambia. Lexical similarity: 70% with Zulu [zul], 24% with English [eng], 6% with Afrikaans [afr]. Classification: Pidgin, Zulu based Comments: Originated in 19th century. “Fanagalo” and most or all other names are pejorative.

More Information

Ronga
[rng] KwaZulu-Natal province. 1,000 in South Africa (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Shironga Dialects: Konde. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Tswa-Rhonga (S.54)

More Information

Seroa
[kqu] Free State province: Xhariep district; near Swaziland border. No known L1 speakers. Status: 10 (Extinct). Dialects: !Gã!nge (!Gã!ne), ||Ku||e. Had 3 dialects. Classification: Tuu, !Ui

More Information

Sotho, Northern
[nso] Northern province; Mpumalanga province: Nkangala and Ehlanzeni districts; Gauteng province: Pretoria area; North-West province: Mortele municipality. 4,620,000 in South Africa (2011 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 4,631,000. L2 users: 9,100,000 in South Africa. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (2004, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Alternate Names: Pedi, Sepedi, Sesotho sa Leboa, Transvaal Sotho Dialects: Dzwabo (Thabine-Roka-Nareng), Gananwa (Hananwa, Xananwa), Kgaga (Khaga, Kxaxa), Khutswe (Khutswi, Kutswe), Koni (Kone), Kopa (Ndebele-Sotho), Lobedu (Khelobedu, Lovedu, Lubedu), Masemola (Masemula, Tau), Matlala-Moletshi, Pai, Phalaborwa (Phalaburwa, Thephalaborwa), Pulana, Tlokwa (Dogwa, Tlokoa, Tokwa), Tswene (Tsweni). Dialects Pai, Kutswe, and Pulana are more divergent and sometimes called ‘Eastern Sotho’. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.32) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Sotho, Southern
[sot] Free State province; Gauteng province: Tembisa and Kempton Park; Eastern Cape province: Senqu municipality, south of Lesotho; North-West and Mpumalanga provinces border areas. 3,850,000 in South Africa (2011 census), increasing. L2 users: 7,900,000 in South Africa. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Alternate Names: Sesotho, Sisutho, Souto, Suthu, Suto Dialects: Taung. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.33) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

South African Sign Language
[sfs] Scattered. 235,000 (2011 census). Approx. 500,000 (2008 WFD). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: SASL Dialects: Several dialects are used unofficially in different regions. Deaf Federation of South Africa promotes a standardized variety. The North British sign system was used for the deaf in white English-speaking families. In 1881 a school for Afrikaans [afr]-speaking families began using British Sign Language [bfi]. Several dialects are used unofficially in different schools. 9 sign language systems, 60% related to British Sign Language [bfi] or Australian sign languages [asf], few to American Sign Language [ase]. There is a Signed Afrikaans as well. Classification: Deaf sign language

More Information

Swahili
[swh] KwaZulu-Natal province: Chatsworth 1, on coast, southwest of Durban proper. 2,000 in South Africa (2006). Status: 5 (Dispersed). Alternate Names: Arab-Swahili, Kisuahili, Kiswaheli, Suahili Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, G, Swahili (G.42) Comments: Zanzibaris brought from Zanzibar and northern Mozambique from 1873–1878. Muslim.

More Information

Swati
[ssw] KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces. 1,300,000 in South Africa (2011 census). L2 users: 2,400,000 in South Africa. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Alternate Names: Siswati, Siswazi, Swazi, Tekela, Tekeza, Thithiza, Yeyeza Dialects: Baca, Hlubi, Phuthi (Sephuthi). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Nguni (S.43) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Tsonga
[tso] Northern and Mpumalanga provinces. 2,280,000 in South Africa (2011 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 4,009,000. L2 users: 3,400,000 in South Africa. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Alternate Names: Shangaan, Shangana, Shitsonga, Thonga, Tonga, Xitsonga Dialects: Changana (Xichangana), Gwamba (Gwapa), Hlave, Jonga (Dzonga), Kande, Luleke (Xiluleke), Nhlanganu (Shihlanganu), Nkuna, N’walungu (Shingwalungu), Songa, Xonga (Ssonga). ‘Tsonga’ is used to describe Changana [tso], Tswa [tsc], and Ronga [rng], although often used interchangeably with Changana, the most prestigious of the 3. All are recognized as languages, although inherently intelligible. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Tswa-Rhonga (S.53) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Tswa
[tsc] Northern province: near South Africa-Zimbabwe-Mozambique shared border. 20,000 in South Africa (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Kitshwa, Sheetshwa, Shitshwa, Tshwa, Xitshwa Dialects: Hlengwe (Makawe-Khambana), Tshwa (Dzibi-Dzonga). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Tswa-Rhonga (S.51)

More Information

Tswana
[tsn] North-West province: Free State, between Kimberley and Bloemfontein; Northern province: Waterberg municipality; Northern Cape province: northeast; Gauteng province: southwest of Pretoria. 4,070,000 in South Africa (2011 census), increasing. L2 users: 7,700,000 in South Africa. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Alternate Names: Beetjuans, Chuana, Coana, Cuana, Sechuana, Setswana, Tsiwaha Dialects: Hurutshe, Kgatla, Kwena, Melete, Ngwaketse, Ngwato, Rolong, Tawana, Thlaping (Tlapi), Thlaro, Tlokwa. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.31) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

‡Ungkue
[gku] Near Orange and Vaal rivers. No known L1 speakers. Status: 10 (Extinct). Alternate Names: ||Kxau Dialects: None known. Reportedly similar to N|u [ngh]. Classification: Tuu, !Ui

More Information

Urdu
[urd] KwaZulu-Natal province: Durban coastal and urban areas; Gauteng province: Johannesburg area, and scattered smaller towns. 12,000 in South Africa (2006). Status: 5 (Dispersed). Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Western Hindi, Hindustani Comments: Muslim.

More Information

Venda
[ven] Northern province. 1,210,000 in South Africa (2011 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 1,294,000. L2 users: 1,700,000 in South Africa. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Alternate Names: Chivenda, Tshivenda Dialects: Guvhu, Ilafuri (West Venda), Lembetu, Manda (Central Venda), Mbedzi (East Venda), Phani, Ronga (Southeast Venda), Tavha-Tsindi. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Venda (S.21) Comments: Traditional religion, Christian, Jewish (Lembaa).

More Information

|Xam
[xam] Northern Cape province. No known L1 speakers. Status: 10 (Extinct). Alternate Names: |Kamka!e, |Kham-Ka-!k’e, |Xam-Ka-!k’e Classification: Tuu, !Ui

More Information

||Xegwi
[xeg] Northern province. No known L1 speakers. Last known speaker died in 1988. Status: 10 (Extinct). Alternate Names: ||Xegwe, ||Xekwi, Abathwa, Amabusmana, Amankgqwigqwi, Batwa, Boroa, Bush-C, Gi|kxigwi, Ki||kxigwi, Kloukle, Lxloukxle, Nkqeshe, Tloue, Tloutle Classification: Tuu, !Ui

More Information

Xhosa
[xho] Eastern Cape province: east of Middelburg and Port Elizabeth; Northern Cape province: southeast Pixley ka Seme municipality; KwaZulu-Natal province: Ugu and Sisonke municipalities; Free State: border area, west of Lesotho. 8,150,000 in South Africa (2011 census). Population total all countries: 8,177,300. L2 users: 11,000,000 in South Africa. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Alternate Names: “Cauzuh” (pej.), Isixhosa, Koosa, Xosa Dialects: Bomwana, Gaika, Gcaleka, Mpondo (Pondo), Mpondomise, Ndlambe, Thembu, Xesibe. 15% of the vocabulary estimated to be of Khoekhoe (Khoisan) origin. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Nguni (S.41) Comments: Cauzuh is an obsolete name. Somewhat acculturated. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Xiri
[xii] Northern Cape province: near Namibia border. 87 in South Africa (2000). Population total all countries: 187. Status: 8b (Nearly extinct). Alternate Names: Cape Hottentot, Gri, Grikwa, Griqua, Gry, Xirikwa, Xrikwa Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Khoekhoe, Nama

More Information

Zulu
[zul] KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga (Gert Sibande muni) provinces; northeast Free State and southeast Gauteng provinces; Eastern Cape province: Harding area. 11,600,000 in South Africa (2011 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 11,969,100. L2 users: 15,700,000 in South Africa. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)). Alternate Names: Isizulu, Zunda Dialects: Cele, Lala, Qwabe, Transvaal Zulu. Reportedly similar to Swazi [ssw] and Xhosa [xho]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Nguni (S.42) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information