Sotho, Northern

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A language of South Africa

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

13,720,000 in South Africa, all users. L1 users: 4,620,000 (2013 UNSD), increasing. L2 users: 9,100,000 (Webb 2002). Total users in all countries: 13,731,000 (as L1: 4,631,000; as L2: 9,100,000).

Location

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

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, 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. TV. Bible: 1904–2000.
Writing

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

Other Comments

Christian, traditional religion.

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