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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'.(82)
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN COMPUTING BOTHO COLLEGE BOTSWANA Realeboga Etsile Alidy, Uyama Chichindua, Merapelo Disang, Boitumelo Gabriel, Beauty Kobamo Kakabe, Keabetswe Kennedy Kenosi, Kealeboga Masilo, Onneile Mmolainyane, Moagi Jarona Mogotsi, Omphile Molaodi, Thatayaone Mosanawe, Kitso Thato Mosekiemang, Pako Gayllard Mosweunyane, Serwalo Ivy Motlhabani, Thato Amanda Ntwayagae, Boitshoko Nyatshane, Idoh Keletso Ofitlhile, Boipelo Pheto, Mpho Pheto, Tebogo Phiri, Motswana Batho Ponatshego, Tshepiso Rapelang Raboenyana, Gopolang Victoria Ramathaka, Patrick Ramonyane, Tshireletso Seakgo, Kabo Wesley Segaise, Keitumetse Marylin Seloi, Lorato Thekiso.
(3) For me as a Motswana woman, recounting her tale resonates with the lived experience of being a married woman in a patriarchal society and tradition.
Head's delineation in Maru of the different circumstances of the oppression of the Motswana woman Dikeledi by the ruthless womanizer Moleka and that of the Khoisan lady teacher Margaret by the traditional Batswana community of the village of Dilepe does point to a different oppression of these African women, from that experienced by women in different societies such as those of the west.
For example in the Report of the Law Reform Commitee (1986), which sought to amend, among other pieces of legislation, the Marriage Act, one man is reported to have said that concubinage should be allowed because it is impossible for a Motswana man to stick to one woman:
The worsening relations of these nationals from the two neighbouring countries first came to the fore mid-January following the deaths of two Zimbabweans and a Motswana, who were inmates at a maximum prison in Francistown, which is a town 500 kilometres north east of the capital Gaborone.
Botswana, as a country, (though not the vast majority of rural Motswana) lives comfortably hut only by the spoils of the diamonds.
Our neighbouring country Botswana was cited as an example of a poor country that has found the political will to tackle the many challenges presented by Aids and has begun to provide treatment to all Motswana who need it.
This complex but thrilling industry has lured a 28-year-old Motswana man, Edmore Jackson, whose love for video games started from a very young age.
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.
As the festival progressed it became apparent that despite the odds and the seemingly intractable obstacles such as disagreement over Setswana spelling and the financial viability of publishing in African languages, there were in our midst those who are actively composing, writing, publishing and performing Setswana creative works, the ultimate homage to Plaatje "our first Motswana man of letters".
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.