Botswana Languages

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Description[edit | edit source]

The official languages of Botswana are English and Tswana.

  • English - Inherited from colonial rule and is used for official business and most written communication.
  • Tswana - The language of the Tswana people—Setswana—is a country's national language, and is spoken by most of the population. [1]
In Setswana, prefixes are more important than they are in many other languages, since Setswana is a Bantu language and has noun classes denoted by these prefixes. They include:
Bo, which refers to the country
Ba, which refers to the people,
Mo, which is one person, and
Se which is the language.

For example, the main ethnic group of Botswana is the Tswana people, hence the name Botswana for its country. The people as a whole are Batswana, one person is a Motswana, and the language they speak is Setswana.

Over 20 smaller languages are also spoken. Some of the country's languages are in danger of becoming extinct. Here is a list of the languages in Botswana: [2]

Afrikaans Haillom Kua Setswana
Ani Herero Kuhane Shua
Birwa Hua Kung-Ekoka Tshuwau
Chichewa Ju'hoan Lozi Tswapong
English Kalanga Mbukushu !Xóõ
Gana Kgalagadi Nambya Yeyi
Gciriku Khoekhoe Naro Zezuru
Gwi Khwedam Ndebele isiXhosa

Word List(s)[edit | edit source]

Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Language Aids and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Tswana language," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 5 April 2021.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Languages of Botswana," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 5 April 2021.