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Northern Sotho language

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Native toSouth Africa
RegionGauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga
Native speakers4.7 million  (2011 census)e18
9.1 million L2 speakers (2002)[1]
Language family
Lobedu (Kgaga)
Gananwa (Tlokwa)
Kopa (Ndebele-Sotho)
? Phalaborwa
? Kutswe (East Sotho)
? Pai (East Sotho)
? Pulana (East Sotho)
Writing systemLatin (Sotho alphabet)
Sotho Braille
Official status
Official language inSouth Africa
Regulated byPan South African Language Board
Language codes
ISO 639-2nso
ISO 639-3Variously:
nso – Pedi etc.
brl – Birwa
two – Tswapong
Guthrie codeS.32,301–304[2]
 person  Mopedi
 people  Bapedi
 language  Sepedi
Geographical distribution of Sepedi in South Africa: proportion of the population that speaks a form of Sepedi at home.
     0–20%      20–40%      40–60%      60–80%      80–100%
Geographical distribution of Northern Sotho in South Africa: density of Northern Sotho home-language speakers.
     <1 /km²      1–3 /km²      3–10 /km²      10–30 /km²      30–100 /km²      100–300 /km²      300–1000 /km²      1000–3000 /km²      >3000 /km²

Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Leboa in Northern Sotho) is an African language mainly spoken by people living in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

Northern Sotho is one of the eleven official languages of South Africa. It is spoken by almost 4 618 500 people, or 8.4% of South Africans at home (2011-census). Northern Sotho is part of the Sotho language family.


  1. Webb, Vic. 2002. "Language in South Africa: the role of language in national transformation, reconstruction and development." Impact: Studies in language and society, 14:78
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online