Xhosa language

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Xhosa
isiXhosa
Native toSouth Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho
RegionEastern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Free State
EthnicityXhosa people
Native speakers
8.2 million (2011 census)[1]
11 million L2 speakers (2002)[2]
Latin (Xhosa alphabet)
Xhosa Braille
Signed Xhosa[3]
Official status
Official language in
 South Africa
 Zimbabwe
Language codes
ISO 639-1xh
ISO 639-2xho
ISO 639-3xho
Glottologxhos1239[4]
S.41[5]
Linguasphere99-AUT-fa incl.
varieties 99-AUT-faa
to 99-AUT-faj +
99-AUT-fb (isiHlubi)
South Africa 2011 Xhosa speakers proportion map.svg
Proportion of the South African population that speaks Xhosa at home

     0–20%      20–40%

     40–60%

     60–80%

     80–100%
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. Xhosa is spoken by 7.6 million people, or about 18% of the South African population. Xhosa is written using a Latin alphabet. Henry Hare Dugmore helped translate the entire Bible in Xhosa language. Xhosa has ten vowels.

Xhosa is well known for its set of three major clicks.

References[change | change source]

  1. Xhosa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Webb, Vic. 2002. "Language in South Africa: the role of language in national transformation, reconstruction and development." Impact: Studies in language and society, 14:78
  3. Aarons & Reynolds, 2003, "South African Sign Language", in Monaghan, ed., Many Ways to be Deaf: International Variation in Deaf Communities
  4. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Xhosa". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online