Travel around the world with us each Tuesday as we explore a different language every week!
Classification: Niger-Congo, Bantu
Official In: South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe
Also Spoken In: parts of Subsaharan Africa
- Includes the Xhosa, Zulu, Swazi, Hlubi, Phuthi, and Ndebele languages
- the title “Ngun” comes from the Nguni cattle, a species unique to southern Africa
- Because of the closeness of these languages, many scholars and linguists have suggested creating one unified dialect, though this has yet to occur.
- Within the Bantu languages, there are as many as 535 different languages, most of which are tonal.
- The Xhosa language functions primarily off of a series of click consonants, though it is written using a Latin alphabet.
Noteable Nguni family speaker:
- Nelson Mandela, (Nguni language spoken: Xhosa) anti-apartheid activist and former South African president
Want to learn?
Check out some of these awesome resources to figure out if a Nguni language is a good fit for you: