Learn Xhosa

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About Xhosa

Xhosa, known locally as isiXhosa, is one of 11 official languages of South Africa and is spoken mostly in Eastern Cape Province and Transkei. It is also spoken in Botswana and Lesotho. It is closely related to Zulu, Swati and Ndebele and all four languages are mutually understandable. Xhosa is both a tonal language and a click language. It has two tones, high and low, and three different types of click sounds.

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Planet Earth

Where is it spoken?

South Africa

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Language family





Fun facts — Xhosa

  • Xhosa’s different click sounds are represented by the letters c, q and x.
  • Nelson Mandela's mother was a Xhosa speaker and at birth gave him the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning troublemaker.
  • English borrows the name impala – for a type of antelope – from Xhosa.

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