Page 86 - Discover Botswana 2022 ONLINE
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       Over 28 languages are spoken by the 2.2 million inhabitants of Botswana, and they fall into three large groups: Bantu, Indo-European and Khoisan. Bantu languages, which include Setswana, are spoken by the Bantu peoples found in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 80% of the population of Botswana speak Setswana as a first, second or third language. This is obviously the huge majority, and with many others in between, the smallest is Thimbukushu, 1.6%, mainly found in Shakawe and Gumare.
The two Indo-European languages are English and Afrikaans. The significance of English to Botswana is not only its colonial links, but its current international relevance as a universal “lingua franca”. Afrikaans is a South West African Germanic language developed from 17th Century Dutch. It is spoken mainly in the Ghanzi area and in the south Kgalagadi District. Its speakers migrated into Botswana from South Africa and Namibia.
The third group is of Khoisan languages. These are spoken by the Basarwa or the Khoisan who are traditionally hunter-gathers found in the Kalahari desert. The 14 Khoisan languages are widespread in Botswana and known collectively as Sesarwa. This is somewhat misleading, as it presupposes that they are mutually intelligible, whereas in fact they are not, despite their common characteristic ‘click’ sounds.
Setswana and English being the official languages of the country, many of the others remain undeveloped beyond elementary grammar. However, government has recently announced that it will introducing Botswana’s minority languages in schools. This is a most welcome development from a cultural perspective, as a language is rarely studied purely to preserve a culture, but because of its utility in furthering economic and educational goals. What Botswana tribal languages lack in general is functional use. For any language to survive and thrive, it must have two central features: educational value, and economic value.

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