Nguni languages

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South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe
Linguistic classification:Niger–Congo

The Nguni languages are a group of Bantu languages spoken by the Nguni people. These languages are spoken in Southern Africa, mostly in South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. Nguni languages include Xhosa, Zulu, Swati, Hlubi, Phuthi and Ndebele (both Southern Ndebele and Northern Ndebele).

The name "Nguni" comes from the cow breed called Nguni cattle. The word Nguni is sometimes used to mean all speakers of Nguni languages as a group. This is an incorrect use of the word, since many different tribes speak these languages.[1]

Language organization[change | change source]

Proportion (percent) of the population that speaks a Nguni language at home.
Density of people who speak Nguni languages at home.
  <1 /km²
  1–3 /km²
  3–10 /km²
  10–30 /km²
  30–100 /km²
  100–300 /km²
  300–1000 /km²
  1000–3000 /km²
  >3000 /km²

The Nguni languages are a sub-group of the Southern Bantu languages. These languages exist in a relatively small geographic area. The languages are closely related and sound very much alike. Many times the different languages are mutually intelligible -- that is, someone who speaks one Nguni language can understand someone speaking a different Nguni language.

Linguists and other researchers split the Nguni languages into two smaller groups: "Zunda Nguni" and "Tekela Nguni".[2][3]

Zunda languages[change | change source]

Tekela languages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

Works cited[change | change source]

  • Doke, Clement Martyn (1954). The Southern Bantu Languages. Handbook of African Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Donnelly, Simon (2009). "Aspects of Tone and Voice in Phuthi". Doctoral Dissertation. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Jordan, Archibald C. (1942). "Some features of the phonetic and grammatical structure of Baca". Masters Dissertation. University of Cape Town.
  • Ownby, Caroline P. (1985). "Early Nguni History: The Linguistic Evidence and Its Correlation with Archeology and Oral Tradition". Doctoral Dissertation. University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Wright, J. (1987). "Politics, ideology, and the invention of the 'nguni'". In Tom Lodge (ed.). Resistance and ideology in settler societies. pp. 96–118.

Other websites[change | change source]