Sotho, Northern

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A language of South Africa

Alternate Names
Pedi, Sepedi, Sesotho sa Leboa, Transvaal Sotho
Population

4,620,000 in South Africa (2013 UNSD), increasing. L2 users: 9,100,000 in South Africa (Webb 2002). Total users in all countries: 13,731,000 (as L1: 4,631,000; as L2: 9,100,000).

Location

Northern province; Mpumalanga province: Nkangala and Ehlanzeni districts; Gauteng province: Pretoria area; North-West province: Mortele municipality.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (2004, Constitution, Article 6(1)).

Dialects

Masemola (Masemula, Tau), Kgaga (Khaga, Kxaxa), Koni (Kone), Tswene (Tsweni), Gananwa (Hananwa, Xananwa), Pulana, Phalaborwa (Phalaburwa, Thephalaborwa), Khutswe (Khutswi, Kutswe), Lobedu (Khelobedu, Lovedu, Lubedu), Tlokwa (Dogwa, Tlokoa, Tokwa), Pai, Dzwabo (Thabine-Roka-Nareng), Kopa (Ndebele-Sotho), Matlala-Moletshi. Dialects Pai, Kutswe, and Pulana are more divergent and sometimes called ‘Eastern Sotho’.

Language Development
Taught in primary and secondary schools. Radio programs. TV. Bible: 1904–2000.
Writing

Braille script [Brai]. Latin script [Latn], primary usage.

Other Comments

Christian, traditional religion.