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Language Information

Hottentot is spoken in South West Africa. Its speakers are not numerous—about 75,000—and constitute about one-fifteenth of the country's population. Like Bushman, Hottentot belongs to the Khoisan family of languages.

Hottentot is another of the "click" languages, the sounds represented by such symbols as /, ‡, //, !, and #. When the earliest Dutch settlers in southern Africa first encountered this language, they described it as consisting of nothing more than the sounds hot and tot. Thus arose the term Hottentot. Today it has a somewhat derisive connotation and many people prefer the term Nama, the name of the largest Hottentot-speaking tribe.

Hottentot is spoken/used in Namibia

Language Family
Family: Khoisan

Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.

Writing Sample

Writing Sample


One day a young shepherd was watching his sheep on a mountain-side. While he was sitting on a rock in the shade of a tree, his head nodded forward and he fell asleep. A ram grazing nearby, seeing the shepherd lower his head, thought he was threatening to fight. So he got ready, and drawing himself back a few paces be launched himself at the shepherd and butted him severely.
The shepherd, thus rudely awakened from his sleep, arose angrily, caught the ram, and threw him into a well standing nearby. But the moment the other sheep saw their leader fall into the well, they followed him in and were dashed to pieces on the rocks. So the shepherd, tearing his hair, cried out: "What sorrow and trouble are brought about by useless anger!"