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(also Chuana, Western Sotho), a language of the Sotho group of the southeastern Bantu languages. According to a 1970 estimate, Tswana is spoken in Lesotho, as well as in the western Transvaal and in northern Cape Province in the Republic of South Africa, by more than 1 million people.

The system of 9 vowels in Tswana exhibits the opposition open-closed in the phonemes [I], [e], [o], and [u]. Consonants include voiced and voiceless alveolar fricatives and affricates. Clicks, which occur only in ideophones, form a peripheral phonetic subsystem. Nasalization, palatalization, and alveolarization of consonants occur at morpheme boundaries.

Nouns are arranged in 18 categories, or noun classes, that form a system of concordances; there are two special classes made up of proper names, kinship terms, and totemic animals, and locative classes, which are weakly expressed in the other languages of the Sotho group. Classes are marked by monosyllabic prefixes. Verbs are conjugated by means of affixes; the diminutive aspect is formed by full reduplication of the verbal root.

The lexicon of Tswana abounds in ideophones. Sentences observe the following pattern: subject-predicate-object.


Crisp, W. Notes Towards a Secoana Grammar, 3rd ed. London, 1900.
Cole, D. T. An Introduction to Tswana Grammar. London-New York, 1955.
Brown, J. T. Secwana Dictionary. London, 1954.


References in periodicals archive ?
Those present at the hearings were, according to the report, shocked over the fact that any Motswana woman could ever think of 'marrying a man', that the 'women in the rural areas do not want to be changed into men', that an amendment would 'destroy our traditions' and that 'the man is the head of the family in any home of a Motswana'.
The above cultural factors surrounding African Motswana women complicate their lives, especially the choices available to married women.
There is no way a Motswana man can stick to one woman.
In Gaborone in February, Zimbabwean informal traders clashed with Batswana at the main bus terminus following claims that a Zimbabwean had been caught wearing clothes stolen from a Motswana.
Since we assumed stewardship of this nation, the life of the average Motswana has undergone tremendous positive change,' he said.
Nganunu went to rest at Phomolong in Phakalane on Saturday as one of the key sons of Botswana and Mpuchane remembered the early days of working for the government with the legend when life was difficult for every Motswana.
Language is one means by which cultural identity is strengthened, but education provides other ways to inculcate in every Motswana a sense of pride in and identification with his or her cultural heritage.
Mr Bathusi Letlhare, a Motswana, has had a successful ostrich business since 1992 after returning from the US where he learnt the trade: "Ostrich farming is a viable adventure but the main problem is Government bureaucracy.
The two, he noted were employed illegally by a Motswana farmer.
We are delighted with Tabake s appointment as the first Motswana to lead DTC Botswana.
He however admitted that there were qualified Batswana personnel to fill the two positions, adding that in fact one of them was currently held by a Motswana on an acting basis.
The President of this country has always said it is the responsibility of every Motswana to help restore dignity to those that are struggling.