Northern Sotho language
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (March 2009)|
|Northern Sotho edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Sesotho sa Leboa|
|Native to||South Africa|
|Region||Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga|
|Native speakers||4.1 million (2006)|
Pedi (Masemola, Tau, Koni)
? Kutswe (East Sotho)
? Pai (East Sotho)
? Pulana (East Sotho)
|Writing system||Latin (Sotho alphabet)
|Official language in||South Africa|
|Regulated by||Pan South African Language Board|
nso – Pedi etc.
brl – Birwa
two – Tswapong
|The Pedi Language|
Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Leboa, also known by the name of its major variety Sepedi) is a Bantu language spoken primarily in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages. According to the 2011 census it was the first language of 4,618,576 people in South Africa, principally in the provinces of Limpopo, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
Urban varieties of Northern Sotho, such as Pretoria Sotho (actually a derivative of Tswana), have acquired clicks in an ongoing process of the spread of such sounds from Nguni languages.
Northern Sotho is one of the Sotho languages of the Bantu family. Northern Sotho is thus most closely related to Sesotho (Southern Sotho), Setswana, sheKgalagari and siLozi. It comprises several distinct varieties.
Lobedu (also Lovedu or Selobedu) exists only in an unwritten form and the standard Northern Sotho language and orthography is usually used for teaching and writing by this language community. The monarch associated with this language community is Queen Modjadji (also known as the Rain Queen). Lobedu is mainly spoken in the area of Duiwelskloof (now called Modjadjiskloof) in the Limpopo Province (former Northern Province). Its speakers are known as the Balobedu.
Sepulana also exist in unwritten form and form part of the standard Northern Sotho, Sepulana is spoken in Bushbuckridge area by the Mapulana people
Confusion of nomenclature with Sepedi
Northern Sotho has often been equated with its major component Sepedi, and continued to be known as Pedi or Sepedi for some years after the new South African constitution appeared. However, the Pan South African Language Board and the Northern Sotho National Lexicography Unit now specifically prefer and endorse the names "Northern Sotho" or "Sesotho sa Leboa".
The original confusion arose from the fact that the (now official) Northern Sotho written language was based largely on Sepedi (for which missionaries first developed the orthography), but has subsequently provided a common writing system for 20 or more varieties of the Sotho-Tswana languages spoken in the former Transvaal (including dialects of Sepedi). The name "Sepedi" thus refers specifically to the language of the Pedi people, while "Northern Sotho" refers to the official language of that name and to all the speech varieties it has been taken to cover. (It should be noted that the ethnic name "Pedi" also refers to a ruling group which established its dominance over other communities in the eighteenth century, and to the culture and lifestyle of that group and of those over whom it ruled.)
Other varieties of Northern Sotho
Apart from Sepedi itself, the other languages or dialects covered by the term "Northern Sotho" appear to be a diverse grouping of communal speech-forms within the Sotho-Tswana group. They are apparently united by the fact that they are classifiable neither as Southern Sotho nor as Tswana.
Very little published information is available on these other dialects of Northern Sotho, however, which have been reported to include: kheLobedu (khiLobedu or seLobedu), seTlokwa, seBirwa, thiPulana (or sePulana), Khutswe, seTswapo and also Pai (transitional between Sotho-Tswana and Zulu). The morphological and possible lexical variation among these dialects has led to the above assertion that 'Northern Sotho' is no more than a holding category for otherwise unclassified Sotho-Tswana varieties spoken in northeastern South Africa. Maho (2002) leaves Phalaborwa and the "East Sotho" varieties of Kutswe, Pai, and Pulana unclassified within Sotho–Tswana. Their precise classification would appear to be a matter for further research.
Some examples of Northern Sotho words and phrases:
|Welcome||Kamogelo (noun) / Amogela (verb)|
|Thank you||Ke a leboga (I thank you) / Re a leboga (we thank you)|
|Good day / Hello||Dumela (singular) / Dumelang (plural) / Thobela (to elders)|
|Good bye!||šala gabotse (keep well) / Sepela gabotse (go well)|
|I am looking for a job||Nna ke nyaka mošomô|
|No smoking||Ga go kgogwe|
|No entrance||Ga go tsenwe|
|Beware of the steps!||Hlokomela distepse!|
|Congratulations on your birthday||Mahlatse letšatšing la matswalo|
|Seasons greetings||Ditumedišo tša Sehla sa Maikhutšo|
|Merry Christmas||Mahlogonolo a Keresemose|
|Merry Christmas and Happy New Year||Mahlogonolo a Keresemose le ngwaga wo moswa wo monate|
- Pedi etc. reference at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
Birwa reference at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
Tswapong reference at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
- Census 2011: Census in brief. Statistics South Africa. 2012. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-621-41388-5. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- See Doke, Clement M. (1954). The Southern Bantu Languages. Handbook of African Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Northern Sotho language in the World Atlas of Language Structures Online
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Northern Sotho language
- Online Northern Sotho - English dictionary
- Online Northern Sotho explanatory dictionary
- Pan South African Language Board
- Spell checker for OpenOffice.org and Mozilla, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox web-browser, and Mozilla Thunderbird email program in Northern Sotho
- Translate.org.za Project to translate Free and Open Source Software into all the official languages of South Africa including Northern Sotho
- Keyboard with extra Northern Sotho characters