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The Sotho language, also known as Sesotho, Southern Sotho, or Southern Sesotho, is a Bantu language spoken primarily in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages, and in Lesotho, where it is the national language. It is an agglutination language which uses numerous affixes and derivational and inflectional rules to build complete words. Sotho is a Southern Bantu language, belonging to the NigerCongo language family within the Sotho languages branch of Zone S. It is most closely related to other major languages in the SothoTswana language group: Tswana (Setswana), the Northern Sotho languages (Sesotho sa Leboa), Kgalagari (SheKgalagari) and Lozi (Silozi). Sesotho is, and has always been, the name of the language in the language itself, and this term has come into wider use in English since the 1980s, especially in South African English and in Lesotho. Sesotho is the auto-glottonym or name of the language used by its native speakers as defined by the United Nations. Sotho is the hetero-glottonym. It is also sometimes referred to as Southern Sotho, principally to distinguish it from Northern Sotho.

Also Called:

Sesotho, Southern Sotho, Southern Sesotho