Botswana

Print
Afrikaans
[afr] Central and Kgatleng districts: north of Limpopo river; Ghanzi and Kgalagadi districts: widespread; North West district along Namibian border; Southern district: small area southwest of Khakea; possibly Takatokwane area. 8,080 (2015 UNSD). 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 Khwedam [xuu] language area. 1,000 (Brenzinger 2013). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Handa-Khwe, Handakwe-Dam, Handá, Handádam, Ts’exa, Ts’éxa, |Anda, ||Anikhwe. Dialects: None known. May be the same language as Khwe [xuu] (Brenzinger 2013). Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Northwest. Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Birwa
[brl] Central district: Bobonong subdistrict, Bobonong, Kobojango, Mathathane, Motalatau, and Semolale. 15,000 (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

Chichewa
[nya] Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Chinjanja, Chinyanja, Nyanja, chiNyanja. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, N, Chewa-Nyanja (N.31). Comments: Non-indigenous.

More Information

English
[eng] 682,900 in Botswana, all users. L1 users: 52,900 (2015 UNSD). L2 users: 630,000 (Crystal 2003a). Status: 1 (National). De facto national working language. Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English. Comments: Non-indigenous.

More Information

||Gana
[gnk] Central district: Boteti subdistrict, cattleposts south and west of Rakops; Ghanzi district: New Xadi and Ghanzi, Ghanzi commercial farms, Central Kalahari Game Reserve. 1,030 (Brenzinger 2013). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Dxana, Gxana, Gxanna, G||ana, G||ana-Khwe, Kanakhoe. Dialects: Domkhoe, G||aakhwe (Balanka, G||aa), G||anakhwe (Kanakhoe), |Khessákhoe. Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Southwest.

More Information

Gciriku
[diu] North West district; extreme west and north borders with Namibia. 2,000 (2004 R. Cook). Status: 5 (Dispersed). 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] Ghanzi district: East Hanahai, Kacgae, and New Xade; Kweneng district: Dutlwe, Kautwane, Khekhenye, Letihakeng, Morwamosu, Serinane, Takotokwane, and Tsetseng. 1,470 (Brenzinger 2013). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Dcui, G!wikwe, Gcwi, G|wi, G|wikhwe. Dialects: Khute. Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Southwest.

More Information

Hai||om
[hgm] 30,000 (2003 J. Leclerc). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Khoekhoe, Hainum. Comments: Non-indigenous.

More Information

Herero
[her] Central district: Letlhakane, Mahalapye, Mokoboxane, Rakops, and Toromoja; Ghanzi district: Charles Hill, Dekar, Dryhoek, Ghanzi, Makunda, and New Kanagas; Kgalagadi district: Omaweneno, Tsabong, and Werd; Kgatleng district: Morwa; North West district: Gomare, Makakung, Maun, Nokaneng, Nxaunxau, Sehitwa, Shakawe, and western cattleposts; scattered among other ethnic groups. 18,700 (2015 UNSD). 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. Erroneously called ‘Damara’. Most came as refugees from Namibia in the early 1900s. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

‡Hua
[huc] Kweneng district: southern Kalahari desert. 30 (Brenzinger 2013), decreasing. Status: 8b (Nearly extinct). Alternate Names: |Hua, |Hû, ‡Hoa, ‡Hoan, ‡Hoã, ‡Hua-Owani. Dialects: ‡Hua, Sasi. Related to !Xóõ [nmn]. Classification: Kx’a.

More Information

Ju|’hoansi
[ktz] Ghanzi district: Ghanzi, Grootelaagte, Kanagas, and commercial farms; North West district: west of Nokaneng. 5,000 (2003 J. Leclerc). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: !Xo, !Xun, Dobe Kung, Dzu’oasi, Ju’oasi, Ju|’hoan, Kung, Kung-Tsumkwe, Tsumkwe, Xaixai, Xû, Zhu’oasi. Dialects: Dzu’oasi (Ssu Ghassi, Zhu’oase), Nogau (Agau), ‡Kx’au||’ein (||Au||ei, ||X’au||’e, ‡Kx’au||’ei, Auen, Kaukau, Koko, Kung-Gobabis). Classification: Kx’a, !Kung. Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Kalanga
[kck] Central district: east third; North East district: widespread; North West district: southeast. 142,000 (2015 UNSD). Status: 5 (Dispersed). Alternate Names: Chikalanga, Ikalanga, Kalagan, Kalaka, Sekalaka, Sekalaña, Tjikalanga. Dialects: Nyai (Nyayi, Rozvi), Ikalanga, Talahundra, Lilima (Humbe), Peri. 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] Ghanzi district: Charles Hill, Dekar, Ghanzi, Grootlaagte, Kanagas, Karakobis, Kuke, Kule, Ncojane, New Xade, and Tsotsha; Kgalagadi district: north; Kweneng district: west; Southern district; North West district: Maun and Sehitwa. 65,400 (2015 UNSD). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Kgalagarhi, Kgalagari, Khalagari, Khalakadi, Kxhalaxadi, Qhalaxari, Sekgalagadi, Shekgalagadi, Shekgalagari. Dialects: Ngologa, Shaga, Kgalagadi (Kgalagari), Balaongwe (Boloongwe), Shelala, Pedi, Phaleng, Kenyi (Khena), Kgwatheng, Tjhauba, Khakhae, Koma, Rhiti, Siwane (Gyegwana). 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] Ghanzi district: villages along Ghanzi-Mamuno road; Kgalagadi district: Makopong, Omaweneno, Tsabong, and Tshane. 200 (2003 J. Leclerc). Status: 5 (Dispersed). Alternate Names: Bergdamara, Dama, Damaqua, Damara, Khoekhoegowab, Nama, Namakwa, Naman, Namaqua, Tama, Tamakwa, Tamma, “Hottentot” (pej.), “Kupkaferrn” (pej.), “Kupkaffer” (pej.). Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Khoekhoe, Nama. Comments: Non-indigenous.

More Information

Khwedam
[xuu] North West district: |Ao-Kyao, Beyetca, Cadikarauwe, Cauwe, Djaxo, Dungu, Gan, Geixa, Gudigoa, Kangwara, Kaputura, Mohembo, Moxatce, Ngarange, ||Qom-ca, Sekanduko, Seronga, Shakawe, Sicokora, Sikondomboro, Tobere, ‡Umbexa, and Xongoa. 1,700 (Brenzinger 2013). Children and elderly are monolingual. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Khoe, Khwe, Kxoe, Xun, “Basarwa” (pej.), “Mbarakwena” (pej.), “Water Bushmen” (pej.). 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; North East district: primarily cattleposts and settlements. 820 (2004 R. Cook). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Cua, Tyhua, Tyua, “Basarwa” (pej.), “Masarwa” (pej.). Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Northeast. Comments: Nomadic. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Kuhane
[sbs] North West district: Chobe subdistrict, mixed in with Lozi [loz] language area. 6,520 (2015 UNSD). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Chikuhane, Echisubia, Ikuhane, Kuahane, Kwahane, Sesubea, Sesubiya, Subia, Subiya, Supia. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Subiya-Totela (K.42). Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Kung-Ekoka
[knw] Ghanzi district: Charles Hill sub-district, northwest of Ghanzi town. 2,000 (Brenzinger 2013). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: !Xun. Classification: Kx’a, !Kung.

More Information

Lozi
[loz] North West district: Chobe subdistrict, mixed in with Kuhane [sbs] language area. 14,000 (2003 J. Leclerc). Status: 5 (Dispersed). 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. 31,200 (2015 UNSD). Total users in all countries: 47,100. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Gova, Kusso, Mambukush, Mampukush, Mbukuhu, Mbukushi, Sempukushu, 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; North West district: southeast corner. 15,000 (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: Bere, Dekar, Charles Hill, East Hanahai, Ghanzi, Grootelaagte, Kanagas, Karakobis, Kuke, Makunda, New Kanagas, Tshobokwane, and West Hanahai commercial farms; North West district: south. 18,000 in Botswana, all users. L1 users: 8,000 (2014 H. Visser). L2 users: 10,000 (Brenzinger 2013). Total users in all countries: 20,000 (as L1: 10,000; as L2: 10,000). Status: 3 (Wider communication). Alternate Names: Nharo, Nharon, Nhauru, Nhaurun, |Aikwe, ||Aikwe, ||Aisan, ||Ai||e, ||Ai||en. Autonym: Naro. Dialects: Ts’ao (Tsaokhwe, Tsaukwe), N|hai-Ntse’e (N||hai, Ts’ao), Qabekhoe (!Kabbakwe, Qabekho). Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Southwest. Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Ndebele
[nde] Central district: Zimbabwe border; North East district: a few villages; North West district: Chobe area. 19,000 (2015 UNSD). Status: 5 (Dispersed). Alternate Names: Isinde’bele, Northern Ndebele, Sindebele, Tabele, Tebele, isiNdebele. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Nguni (S.44).

More Information

Shua
[shg] Central district: Boteti subdistrict, Letlhakane, Mmatshumu, Mokoboxane, Motopi, and Popipi; Tutume subdistrict, Gweta and Nata; North West district: small area southeast. 2,000 (Brenzinger 2013). Status: 7 (Shifting). Alternate Names: Mashuakwe, Shua-Khwe, Tshumakwe. Dialects: Shua-Khwe (Mashuakwe), N|oo-Khwe (N||ookhwe, N|oo), |Oree-Khwe (|Koree-Khoe, |Oree), ||’Aiye (|Aaye), |Xaise (|Ais, |Hais, |Haise, |Taise), Tshidi-Khwe (Shete Tsere, Sili, Tcaiti, Tsh’iti), Danisi (Danisa, Danisis, Demisa, Madenassa, Madenasse, Madinnisane), Cara, Deti, Ganádi, Ts’ixa. Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, North-Central.

More Information

Tsoa
[hio] Central district: especially Mahalapye and Serowe subdistricts; Kweneng district: Ghanzi and Kgatleng districts’ border areas; primarily cattleposts and settlements. 2,000 (Brenzinger 2013). Total users in all countries: 5,540. Status: 7 (Shifting). Alternate Names: Chuwau, Chware, Gabake-Ntshori, G||abake, Haitshuari, Hietshware, Hiochuwau, Hiotshuwau, Kwe, Kwe-Etshori Kwee, Kwe-Tshori, Tati, Tati Bushman, Tshuwau, Tshwa, “Sarwa” (pej.), “Sesarwa” (pej.). Classification: Khoe-Kwadi, Khoe, Kalahari Khoe, Northeast. Comments: Nomadic. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Tswana
[tsn] Widespread as lingua franca; Central district: Mahalapye and Serowe-Palapye subdistricts; Kgatleng and South East districts; Kweneng and Southern districts: east; North West district: Maun village area. 1,860,000 in Botswana, all users. L1 users: 1,710,000 (2015). L2 users: 150,000. Total users in all countries: 13,664,710 (as L1: 5,814,710; as L2: 7,850,000). Status: 1 (National). De facto national language. Alternate Names: Beetjuans, Chuana, Coana, Cuana, Sechuana. Autonym: Setswana, Tswana. Dialects: Tlahaping (Thlaping, Tlapi), Rolong, Kwena, Kgatla, Ngwatu (Ngwato), Tawana, Lete, Ngwaketse, Tlokwa, Sehurutshe. 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. 5,380 (2003 UNSD). 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] Ghanzi district: south; Kgalagadi district: north; Kweneng and Southern districts: west. 2,000 (2011 C. Naumann). Total users in all countries: 2,500. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Ng|amani, Tsasi. Dialects: 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), !Kwi. Classification: Tuu, Taa. Comments: Nusan are in Botswana. Nu||en dialect is extinct. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Yeyi
[yey] Central district: Letihakane, Motopi, Rakops, and Xumu; North West district: Maun, Shorobe up to Daunara, Gumare, Ikoga, Mababe, Nokaneng, Sankoyo, Sepopo, Seronga, and Shakawe. 4,180 (2015 UNSD). Ethnic population: 47,000. Total users in all countries: 9,180. Status: 6b (Threatened). Alternate Names: Ciyei, Seyei, Seyeyi, Shiyeyi, Siyei, Yeei, Yei, “Koba” (pej.), “Kuba” (pej.), “Sekoba” (pej.). 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] Central district: north; North West district: northeast. 11,000 (2004 R. Cook). Status: 5 (Dispersed). Alternate Names: Shona, chiShona. Dialects: Karanga. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Shona (S.10). Comments: Non-indigenous.

More Information

Page Views Left: