|Sesotho, or Southern Sotho,
is part of the Sotho language subgroup within the South - Eastern group
of the Ntu (Bantu) language family. Other languages in the Sotho
(also known as Tswana or Western Sotho) and
sa Leboa (also known as Northern Sotho or by the dialect
The language is spoken in the Kingdom
as well as throughout the Republic of South Africa.
Yet in South Africa the language is concentrated in the Free State province, the northern part of the Eastern Cape
province and the south of the Gauteng province. It is also spoken in the vicinity of Pretoria and Brits.
Very small language communities also exist in Namibia and Zambia.
Traditionally it was thought the Sesotho spoken in Qwaqwa (former Basotho homeland in South Africa) and Lesotho was the purest form of the language. Yet no language can exist in total isolation and even there influence from other languages as well as language change has taken place. It has therefore happened that loan words and influences have been taken from neighbouring Nguni languages such as isiZulu and isiXhosa as well as European languages such as English and Afrikaans (a Germanic language that developed in Southern Africa from seventeenth century Dutch).
The division of Sesotho speakers per province in South Africa (according to the 2001 census) is as follows:
The Kwena dialect used
by Moshoeshoe, regarded as the father of the Basotho people, was used in
the first translation of the Bible by missionaries and became the
standard for written Sesotho.
Main concentration of the Sotho languages in Southern Africa.
Concentration of Sesotho in
of Sesotho speakers
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