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Language Information

Setswana is also known as Tswana.

The language, Tswana, is spoken widely in Southern Africa. By the people of Botswana, the Northern Cape, the central and western Free State and in the North-West Province.

Setswana was the first Sotho language written to have a written form. In 1806 Heinrich Lictenstein wrote Upon the Language of the Beetjuana. While in 1815, John Cambell wrote Bootchuana words and was followed by Burchell who wrote about Botswana in 1824. Dr Robert Moffat from the London Missionary Society arrived among the Batlhaping in Kudumane in 1818, and he built the first school for Botswana. In 1825, he realised that he must use and write Setswana in his teachings. He finished translating The Gospel according to Luke in 1830, The New Testament in 1840 and the Old Testament in 1857.

The first Motswana (speaker of Setswana) who contributed to the history of written Setswana is Sol D T. Plaatje, who, with the help of Professor Jones wrote Tones of Secwana Nouns in 1929. The New Testament and the Psalms were translated in 1963 in the 1910 authography and the whole Bible was translated into Setswana 1970.

(Some information adapted from RM Malimabe, in UNESCO:2000)

Family: Bantu (or rather Ntu) Language Family
Group: South Eastern Bantu (or rather Ntu)
Subgroup: Sotho

VARIETIES: Related varieties include Sekgalagadi in Botswana and Shilozi in Namibia and Zambia.

Speakers Around 3 301 774 people in South Africa use it as their home language.

Setswana is spoken/used in Botswana

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