Talk:Sotho–Tswana languages

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Added a note about the braindead dictionary. Perhaps this link should be removed - it does nothing but disseminate misinformation. -ZyXoas

Removed. — mark 08:07, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

"May be related"?[edit]

I don't see any reason to doubt that these languages (and particularly Sesotho) are related to Serotse. There may be reason to debate the closeness of the relationship, but it is clear that a major (if not the only major) ancestor of Serotse was in the Sotho group. Unless somebody shows me cause to doubt it, I'll revise the article to remove the raising of doubts. --Haruo

I have fixed it, they are indeed related. It were the Kololo from what is now Lesotho that brought their Sotho language to southwestern Zambia. This became Lozi, and its grammatical structure is closer to the Sotho languages than to some other neighbouring Bantu languages. — mark 08:07, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

I confess - that was me. I was just a bit confused about what the relationship between Lozi, Sekololo, and Serotse was. It would be nice if there was more info on the actual structure of Serotse on the internet so I could expand this article by including by including the perculiar features common to all these languages (I have the relevant info for Sesotho, Setswana, and Sesotho sa Leboa), but... Eg does Serotse also have nine vowels? Are it's tones also usually the opposite of the tones in other Kintu languages (eg are it's class prefixes, save one or two, all low tone)? Does it lack prenasalised consonants, like the other Sesotho languages? Etc. It seems completely impossible to find the answers to these simple questions anywhere on the internet. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 10:17, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

What I heard just last Wednesday in a talk by Koen Bostoen (at the 36th CALL) is that much of the grammar is similar to Sotho, but that the phonology is much more like Luyana. In his presentation [PPS] Bostoen actually gives a quote from Gowlett (1989): Lozi is "basically South Sotho spoken with the phonology of Lyuana, and with the accretion of a limited number of Luyana and Tswana grammatical elements, as well as a large quantiy of Luyana vocabulary, and vocabulary from English and Afrikaans". Otherwise, the PPS doesn't give much details on Lozi, but it's surely an interesting project they're going to start! — mark 12:12, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

So it's Sesotho with a funny accent? You should have just said so! I once briefly saw the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Serotse and I rememember something about "munyali na munyaliwa" ("the marrier and the married", "monyadi le monyaduwa" in Sesotho) and I wondered whether the "l" in the "li" was pronounced as "d" or as a tap, or the "i" had moved down in position such that the "l" is now pronounced as, well, an "l"!? The fact that the class 1 prefix is written "mu" suggests that the vowels have lowered in position. So it sounds different from Sesotho, but yet it sounds the same. :-/ Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 14:13, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Sotho-Tswana languages: merger suggestion, and Lozi/Sotho comment[edit]

Two things: I propose that the present very brief but useful page titled "Sotho languages" on Sotho and Tswana dialects/languages be fleshed out and merged with the existing Sotho-Tswana page, for several reasons, including that fact that the "Sotho-Tswana" term is standard in referring to this subset of Zone S Bantu; and the fact that the existing Sotho-Tswana page has considerable information on it, albeit very lacking on language. I'm editing the Sotho-Tswana page, and will propose the merger there too.

About the Sotho/Lozi distinction discussed in the "May be related?" section above: for what it's worth, I speak Lozi, and it's utterly distinct from Sotho (not mutually intelligible, for a start). Although Lozi has undergone a mostly unambiguous simplification of Sotho phonology (much neutralisation), as pointed out in part by ZyXoas, Lozi is also undergone significant morphological enrichment (verb extensions, Classes 12 & 13, etc), and most saliently has a hugely augmented lexicon from the Luyaana influence. This augmentation correctly implies a simultaneous impoverishment of the original Sotho lexicon. (Lozi li- is indeed [li], not allophonic Sotho [di]. Lozi mu- is almost identical phonetically to Sotho mo- [mu-]. The superclose Sotho vowels are gone, as are the raised high allophones of /i u/, and the raised allophones (sometimes phonemic) [e o] of phonemic mid /ɛ ɔ/. So, Lozi vowels are down to the Spanish-y five. — Sotho of the South 23:30, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

As far as I can see, this accords with the quotes I provided above. — mark 12:52, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

teh move[edit]

Dang! You beat me to it! Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 16:48, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

You know I'm always the first to carry out controversial moves! — mark 18:18, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

You should probably copy the discussion here too. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 18:57, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Other languages?[edit]

I know this is not the most reliable source, but in addition to the languages in the article, Ethnologue also lists the following languages as Sotho-Tswana: Kgalagadi, Birwa, Tswapong, and Ndebele (huh!? — this last one must be a clear mistake?). Are the first three genuine? —Batamtig 01:13, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

This sounds like the olde "many disparate tribes and dialects" view of dark Afrika taken a tad too far.

At least one of those (Sekgaladi) is, AFAIK, a form of Setswana. The other 2 I've never heard of.

Many amaNdebele people speak (a form of) Northern Sesotho instead of isiNdebele. In particular, I've met a certain Professor Nhlanhla Maake (an important academic at Wits) who has a son named Thaoge and whose family speaks Sesotho (he's also a Sesotho author). It confused me that the father had an Nguni name yet spoke Sesotho yet clearly their surname and the one son's name were not (Southern) Sesotho. It all made sense when the son told me they were actually amaNdebele and I finally learned about the Southern amaNdebele.

I guess this also explains all those Northern Sesotho speaking people with the surname Mahlangu, or how my mother's family ended up in Qwa Qwa and Lesotho and speaking Sesotho but with the Nguni surname Miya (they mispronounce it as "Mmeya"). Strange, but true.

Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 07:46, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Ah, interesting, Zyxoas. Ethnologue has "Tswapong" as being somewhere between N. Sotho and Tswana:
"Some similarities to Pedi (N. Sotho) and some to Tswana, but it is not clearly a dialect of either. Some intelligibility to speakers of a northern dialect of Tswana (Sengwato and Setawana), and to speakers of a northwestern dialect of Pedi (Hananwa and Setokwa). Some speakers of Birwa and Tswapong have said that their varieties are closer to one another than to Tswana or Pedi.
Several groups: the Ramokgonami, Maifela, Chadibe, Sefbare, Tupsa."
Looks like a classic dialect continuum. —Batamtig 08:15, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Note how the source confuses between Sepedi and Northern Sesotho, and this talk of "intelligibility" is stupid.

Every speaker of one Sesotho language can understand every other speaker sufficiently.

Just do what everyone else does -- if it's a Sesotho language spoken in South Africa but it's neither Sesotho nor Setswana then it's a Northern Sesotho language. Indeed, that's largely how "Northern Sotho" is usually defined both linguistically and ethnologically . There are a few exceptions, such as -lobedu, but one wonders if there's some strong scientific reason or if it's simply due to the fame of Modjadji.

All that info sounds rather out-dated...

Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 13:15, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Ah OK. So it seems the difficulty in classification here is mainly a political, not a linguistic one — these are dialects mainly spoken in Botswana. If they were spoken in SA, then they would probably be classified as N. Sotho, but it seems that the name "N. Sotho" is not used in Botswana. —Batamtig 20:47, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
This map makes the geographical relations clearer. —Batamtig 22:27, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
OH, and despite the fact that many Ndebele people speak N. Sotho, I'm almost positive there's no Sotho language called "Ndebele". This is almost certainly a mistake. —Batamtig 00:03, 29 December 2006 (UTC)


Sesotho sa Borwa, are you absolutely sure that "Lovedu" and "Khilobedu" are valid names (and not popular mistakes)? O_o They seem very un-Sotho-ish; what's your view? Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 15:36, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Proposed to move to Sotho-Tswana languages[edit]

Does anyone object if I move this article to Sotho-Tswana languages which already exists as a redirect? According to Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dashes#Dashes: "for people and things identifying with multiple nationalities, use a hyphen when applied as an adjective". HelenOnline 13:04, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

 Done HelenOnline 07:48, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

unidentified reference[edit]

Maho (2002) is mentioned but not cited. Presumably a reference to an author and publication date, but not clarified nor footnoted. --Haruo (talk) 05:39, 16 September 2015 (UTC)