(redirected from Batswana)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Batswana: Motswana
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
President Masisi said government prioritised human life over wildlife but said it was disappointing that there were some Batswana who worked against government efforts to ensure the safety of the nation.
The deaths occurred as a result of injuries sustained during a fight between Zimbabwean and Batswana prisoners.
He added that his party was committed to its vision and mission of improving their livelihoods of Batswana.
He said the legislation would empower many Batswana who were passionate about business but had no business plots to kick-start and shepherd their ventures from idea to cash.
He noted that since the attainment of nationhood, Batswana consider BDP the party of governance as it continued to be the custodian of every Motswana's dream and aspirations for a better future.
For his part, UDC member, Mr Vain Mamela said UDC could impact positively on the lives of Batswana if given power to rule by supporting the informal sector and Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).
Mr Tsogwane said they had a plan to develop the economy while the opposition failed to explain how it would do so except to promise Batswana things that were not attainable.
He said there were other parties in the country that did not promise Batswana any attainable developments but only opposed BDP's promises with the view of gaining political mileage.
President Masisi said the success was attributable to the cooperation of Batswana who reported wrongdoers.
He said he also advocated for Batswana who used to work for South African mines to be paid their dues and some had since benefited.