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a group of closely related languages, the most representative of which are Southern Sotho, the official language of Lesotho, and Northern Sotho, which is spoken in Transvaal Province in the Republic of South Africa. Speakers of Sotho number approximately 4 million (1967, estimate).

Sotho belongs to the southeastern zone of the Bantu languages. With the exception of a, vowels are characterized by an open/closed opposition; they constitute a nine-member system. The consonant system is characterized by the presence of three click sounds and a well-developed system of fricatives. There are 13 agreement classes with monosyllabic prefixes. Rudiments of locative prefixes are found in the pronouns. The verb abounds in derivative suffixes. A literature exists in Sotho and newspapers are published in the language.


Paroz, R. A. Elements of Southern Sotho, 2nd ed. Morija, 1959.
Ziervogel, D. Noordsotho-leerboek. Pretoria, 1949.
Doke, C. M. The Southern Bantu Languages. London-New York, 1954.
Mabille, A., and H. Dieterlen. Southern-Sotho-English Dictionary. Morija, 1950.
References in periodicals archive ?
1908) The Treasury of Basuto Lore, Being Original Se-Suto Texts, with a Literal English Translation and Notes.
It may be that this initiative failed largely because of the Rinderpest, which decimated the store of capital which formed the basis for many who would have otherwise invested in the Basuto Pioneer Trading Company.
Basuto ponies were much prized for their speed and endurance.
The Eugene Casalis record of his twenty-three years at Morija, The Basutos of 1861, is more formal, polished.
86) The ruling Basuto Congress Party denied these killings but incriminating evidence was irrefutable (Murray and Sanders 2005: 42-7.
As we know, Paul Ellenberger, son of Victor, was the grandson of David-Frederic who had written in Sesotho a History of the Basuto in 1913 (Ricard, "In a Free State").
In the 1890s, the Basuto evangelist, Mokalapa, started a non-mission school that subsequently led to the opening of the Barotse National School in 1907.
John attempts to mediate (unsuccessfully) in a tense situation between Basuto and Shangaan workers in the Benoni location (~Vandi'); he intervenes in a dispute between the Sofasonke Party and the Vigilance Committee in neighbouring ~Shantytown' (Orlando); and he addresses meetings and provides advice during the 1944 Alexandra (~Nandi') bus-boycott.
They continued their march very much like a swarm of locusts; scattering the Swazis, terrifying the Basuto and Bapedi on their outposts; they drove them back to the mountains at the point of the assegai; and, trekking through the heart of the Transvaal, they eventually invaded Bechuanaland where they reduced the Natives to submission.
I a Xhosa, say you are my brothers, Swazis, Pondos, Basutos, we die like brothers, for though they made us leave our assegais in the kraal, our voices are left with our bodies".
T]he Kaffirs are considered the best and most trustworthy labourers, and of the Kaffirs the Zulus have the best reputation, and perhaps the Basutos next.
Moshesh the king of the Basutos, of whom James Backhouse and George Washington Walker give some account, is one of the most extraordinary men I ever met with, and I had almost said a miracle of a man, when his circumstances in Africa are taken into consideration, and the French mission among his people, present one of the loveliest pictures under heaven.