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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
The second text Reader, a collaboration with Daniel Jones, introduces the first Setswana phonetic orthography meant to assist in reading Setswana-Serolong and to promote teaching young Batswana and English people appropriate pronunciation (Jones and Plaatje v-xiv).
For instance, that Setswana was the home language (except for two participants), implies that children do not hear English beyond the classroom.
The languages used for the M-Thuto system were English and Setswana, as Setswana was the common native language of the geographical location were the study was conducted and the English language was the language of teaching and learning in the participating schools.
The majority of its students were Setswana speaking and belonged to the Bafokeng people.
Worse still, the Setswana culture idolizes marriage to the extent that being an unmarried woman is seen as either a curse or not being woman enough.
Another Setswana Proverb--O se tshege o oleng, mareledi a sale pele.
Their topics include African perspectives on linguistic diversity and their implications for language policy and education; Kiswahili in Tanzania; street Setswana versus school Setswana in forging identities in South African classrooms; political and cultural dimensions of Creole as a regional language in the French Antilles; the role of Creole English in English as a Second Language programs in the US for students from Sierra Leone and Liberia; and using hip-hop as an educational tool.
Respondents' language capabilities (N = 227) Language Frequency % Afrikaans 267 96.4 English 273 98.6 Sesotho 108 38.9 German 46 16.6 IsiZulu 39 14.1 IsiXhosa 31 11.2 Setswana 29 10.5 Sepedi 8 2.5 French 8 2.9 SiSwati 8 2.5 IsiNdebele 7 2.2 Dutch 6 1.4 Indian dialects 4 1.1 African dialects 3 1.1 Russian 3 1.1 Tshivenda 3 1.1 Arabic 2 0.7 Italian 2 0.7 Portuguese 2 0.7 Spanish 2 0.7 Xitsonga 2 0.7 Chinese 1 0.4 Polish 1 0.4
In isiXhosa, English, and Setswana with English subtitles.
Microsoft upped the ante earlier this year when it launched a Zulu version of its main operating system Windows XP and said Afrikaans and Setswana versions would follow.