Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Tswana: Setswana, Tswana language
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Comparative Live Weight, Growth Performance, Feed Intake, Carcass Traits and Meat Quality in Two Strains of Tswana Chickens Raised Under Intensive System in South East District of Botswana.
Mmapula was not alone in her anxieties: deep ambiguities in the reproduction of Tswana kinship have preoccupied Batswana and anthropologists of Botswana for at least a century (Comaroff and Roberts 1977; Comaroff 1980; 1981; Gulbrandsen 1986; Livingston 2003; Schapera 1933; 1940; Solway 1990; 2016; Upton 2001; van Dijk 2010; 2012; 2016)--and they have taken on new urgency in the context of one of the world's worst AIDS epidemics.
It's an honour to serve Bo- tswana in this capacity, particularly in such an important ministry," she says.
Milk production in the British Alpine, Saanen, Toggenburg and Tswana goats in the central district of Botswana.
central institution in Tswana local governance that has been lauded as a
Boemo, a young Botswanan, explains that "Motswana" means citizen of Bostwana, but the term actually only refers to people of the Tswana ethnic group.
The gem, whose name translates as "Our Light" in Botswana's Tswana language, is believed to be between 2.5 billion to more than three billion years old.
The tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus), whose common name is derived from the Tswana "tshesebe ", is most closely related to the topi and the bontebok, which are classified in the same genus.
They perform original material, cover songs and traditional African music from Zulu, Tswana and Xhosa cultures.
The five-piece from the Johannesburg township sing a unique blend of R'n'B, gospel, pop and jazz along with traditional Zulu, Tswana, Swahili and Xhosa music.
For example, in Tswana, a language with a fully productive applicative derivation--Ex.