16 March 2004

Mini History of Sesotho

Sesotho, or Southern Sotho, is spoken in Lesotho, the Free State and southern Gauteng. Also spoken in the vicinity of Pretoria and Brits. Sesotho was one of the first African languages to be reduced to writing, and it has an extensive literature. According to scholars the written form was originally based on the Tlokwa dialect. Today the written language is mostly based on the Kwena and Fokeng dialects. Although there are variations. It's a tonal language and very different to [sic] Western languages. The Sesotho language is governed by the noun, which is split into various classes. It is known as an agglutinating language (a combination of simple word elements to express a specific meaning), with many suffixes and prefixes used in sentence construction causing sound changes. Sesotho was transmuted into writing by the missionaries Casalis and Arbousset of the Paris Evangelical Mission who arrived at Thaba Bosiu in 1833.
Around 3 104 147 people use it as their home language in South Africa. Yet it is also the official language of the Kingdom of Lesotho. (From go24.co.za)
Studying and mastering Sesotho noun classes is the second-best way of learning it quickly and for keeps. Of course there are other parameters such as pronunciation and vocabulary, but Sesotho will generally surrender to someone who has a good knowledge of its noun classes and their respective prefix systems.

Sefate seo se na le lilemo tse tharo. Se nosetsoa hantle.

Lintja tseo li na le lilemo tse tharo. Li fepuoa hantle.

Bana bao ba na le lilemo tse tharo. Ba holisoa hantle.

Motho eo o na le lilemo tse tharo. O fepuoa hantle.

So what's the best way, then? Find yourself a good Mosotho boyfriend or girlfriend. Settle for a good friend if that's all you can afford to have. And then communicate. Ask silly questions and try to converse the best way you can. And this goes not only for Sesotho but for languages in general.

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