A language of Namibia

Alternate Names
Bergdamara, Damara, Hai||’om, Khoekhoegowap, Maqua, Nama, Namagowab, Namakwa, Naman, Namaqua, Tama, Tamakwa, Tamma, “Hottentot” (pej.)
Khoekhoe, Khoekhoegowab

200,000 in Namibia (Brenzinger 2013b). Total users in all countries: 202,200.


Erongo, Kunene, and Otjozondjupa (Otiwarongo area) regions; south central near ||karas and Hardap regions.

Language Status

4 (Educational). Recognized language (2009, National Curriculum, Basic Education, Sections and 5.5), mainly used as education medium in primary grades.


Sesfontein-Dama (Sesfontein Damara), Namidama, Central Damara (Central Dama), Central Nama (Nama), Bondelswarts-Nama (Bondelswarts), Topnaar-Nama (Topnaar). Lexical similarity: Sesfontein Damara over 80% with central dialects, 80% with Haiom [hgm] (Haacke 2008).


SOV; postpositions; noun head final; gender (masculine/feminine/common); dual number; strongly suffixing; verb affixes mark person, number, object; passives; tense and aspect; 31 consonant and 8 vowel phonemes (including 20 clicks); tonal (3 tones: high, mid, low); inclusive/exclusive pronouns.

Language Use

Can be studied up to doctoral level at University of Namibia, also used in administration. Used as L2 by Hai||om [hgm].

Language Development

Taught in primary and secondary schools. Radio. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1966.


Latin script [Latn].

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