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Xhosa language

The Xhosa nation lives in South Africa. The name refers to one of their legendary chieftains of old. They refer to themselves as the amaXhosa and their language is known as isiXhosa.

The language represents the most South Western branch of the Nguni[?] subfamily of the Bantu languages. Its grammar has the characteristic noun class system which is common to all Bantu languages.

However, it is also rich in consonantal phonemes that betray the strong historical interaction with its Khoisan neighbors. It has 3 basic clicks: c (s or th with ingressive tongue air), x (lateral click), and q (a sudden pop behind the front teeth). Each occurs in 6 varieties. Even the name Xhosa may be of Khoisan origin.

There are about 6 million speakers, most in the Eastern Cape Province[?], but increasingly also in the Western Cape[?], including Cape Town.

An example of the written language is the national anthem of South Africa.

Nkosi, sikelel' iAfrika;
Malupakam'upondo lwayo;
Yiva imitandazo yetu
Usisikelele.

Another example is Qongqothwane. It is better know as The Click Song. (An audio clip would be nice for those who want to know what the click really sounds like.)

Igqira lendlela nguqo ngqothwane
Igqira lendlela nguqo ngqothwane
Sebeqabele gqi thapha bathi nguqo ngqothwane
Sebeqabele gqi thapha bathi nguqo ngqothwane



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