Tsonga

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A language of South Africa

Alternate Names
Shangaan, Shangana, Shitsonga, Thonga, Tonga, Xitsonga
Population

2,280,000 in South Africa (2013 UNSD), increasing. L2 users: 3,400,000 in South Africa (Webb 2002). Total users in all countries: 8,479,000 (as L1: 5,079,000; as L2: 3,400,000).

Location

Northern and Mpumalanga provinces.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Article 6(1)).

Dialects

Luleke (Xiluleke), Gwamba (Gwapa), Changana (Xichangana), Hlave, Kande, N’walungu (Shingwalungu), Xonga (Ssonga), Jonga (Dzonga), Nkuna, Songa, Nhlanganu (Shihlanganu). ‘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.

Language Development
A language of secondary education. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1907–1989.
Writing

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

Other Comments

Christian, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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