Xhosa Language Course Online

The Ultimate Guide to the Xhosa Language


Not many people across the globe have ever come across the Xhosa language from South Africa. But our curious minds are always looking to learn new stuff. Read on as this article covers several aspects of the Xhosa language. 

Origins of The Xhosa

The amaXhosa are an ethnic group that originated in South Africa and contributed to the development of the Xhosa language. isiXhosa is the recognized name of the language, with the term Xhosa having originated from the Khoisan Language. In this context, the word Xhosa translates to “angry men.” To bring the language into even closer touch, it is conventional for most African languages that are distinguished by a clicking sound to have originated from the indigenous Khoisan people. In light of this, South Africa is the birthplace of the Xhosa people and their language. Xhosa is classified as a member of the Bantu language family, which encompasses a wider variety of languages. You can enroll in Xhosa courses online if you find the language intriguing.

Peculiarities in The Xhosa

The language has an exceptionally high quantity of clicking sounds, one of its most distinguishing features. These sounds are created and made with the tongue, and the consonants x, c, and q represent them in the alphabet. It is a common misconception that Xhosa and Zulu are the same languages. It is because both languages belong to the Bantu Language family, which also includes Zulu. 

However, despite their apparent similarities, they are distinct from one another. The Xhosa language has a unique sound system built on tones, which help distinguish between terms that normally sound quite similar. It’s a language that, when spoken, sounds pretty lovely while having a tone and structure that are unique to the language as a whole. Learn Xhosa online to know more about the peculiarities of the language.

Where Is the Xhosa Language Spoken? 

About 18% of South Africa’s population, or 19 million people, speak Xhosa as their primary language. Xhosa is spoken mostly in the regions of Cape Town, Eastern Cape Province, Botswana, Transkei, Western Cape, Gauteng, and Lesotho. So join a Xhosa language course today if you plan to visit these areas in South Africa for travel or business purposes. 

How many people speak Xhosa in South Africa?

Xhosa is one of the 11 official languages in South Africa, and it is spoken by around 8 million people. It is a member of the Bantu family of languages, and it is closely related to Zulu and Swati. Xhosa has several dialects, but the two most common are Southern and Eastern. The Xhosa language is also used in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Lesotho.

The Structure of the Xhosa

The Xhosa language is made up of twenty-three consonants and four vowels. The consonants are divided into three groups: the labials, which are formed with the lips; the dentals, which are formed with the tongue against the teeth; and the velars, which are produced with the back of the tongue against the soft palate. There are also two glottal sounds, one of which is used to start a word and the other to end it.

The four vowel sounds in Xhosa can be either long or short. They are all nasalized, which means that when they are pronounced, air escapes through the nose as well as the mouth. In addition to these twenty-seven phonemes, there are also several ways of altering them to change their meaning. For example, aspirated consonants are pronounced with a little puff of air after them, while ejective consonants are pronounced with a sudden burst of air.

Xhosa is what is known as a tonal language, which means that pitch plays a role in its pronunciation. Each syllable can be spoken in one of three tones: high, low, or falling. The tone can change the meaning of a word, so it is important to get it right. Xhosa is written using a Latin alphabet with some additional characters borrowed from other African or foreign language. It was only recently standardized, so there is still some variation in how it is written.

Useful Phrases

In this section, we will provide you with some useful phrases in Xhosa that can be used in everyday conversation.

  • Hello: Molo
  • How are you?: Unjani?
  • Thank you: Ngiyabonga
  • You’re welcome: Kwakunjani
  • Sorry: Ngiyaxolisa/Ndiyaxolisa
  • Yes: Ewe/Yebo
  • No: Cha/Hayi

What are the key features of the Xhosa?

The Xhosa is spoken by the Xhosa people, who are native to South Africa. It is a member of the Bantu family of languages, which includes Swahili and Zulu. The Xhosa language has four dialects: Gcaleka, Mpondo, Thembu, and Xhosa. The grammar of the Xhosa language is relatively simple. There are no articles or plural markers. Verbs do not change form based on person or tense. There are two genders (masculine and feminine), and nouns take different prefixes depending on their gender.


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