Xhosa

Print

A language of South Africa

Alternate Names
Koosa, Xosa, “Cauzuh” (pej.)
Autonym
Isixhosa
Population

19,150,000 in South Africa, all users. L1 users: 8,150,000 (2013 UNSD). L2 users: 11,000,000 (Webb 2002). Total users in all countries: 19,169,300 (as L1: 8,169,300; as L2: 11,000,000).

Location

Eastern Cape province: east of Middelburg and Port Elizabeth; Northern Cape province: southeast Pixley ka Seme municipality; KwaZulu-Natal province: Ugu and Sisonke municipalities; Free State: border area, west of Lesotho.

Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, and Western Cape (1996, Constitution, Article 6(3a)), official language in 4 provinces.

Dialects

Mpondo (Pondo), Xesibe, Bomwana, Gaika, Gcaleka, Thembu, Mpondomise, Ndlambe. 15% of the vocabulary estimated to be of Khoekhoe (Khoisan) origin.

Typology

SVO; noun head initial; 17 noun classes; no articles; verb affixes mark person, number, object; causatives; 58 consonant and 10 vowel phonemes; tonal (2 tones: high, low); clicks.

Language Use

Also use Southern Sotho [sot], Swati [ssw], Zulu [zul].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 50%. Literacy rate in L2: 20%–25%. Taught in primary and secondary schools. Newspapers. Periodicals. Radio. TV. Bible: 1859.
Writing

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

Other Comments

Cauzuh is an obsolete name. Somewhat acculturated. Christian, traditional religion.

Page Views Left: