More correctly Sesotho, one of South Africa's eleven official languages along with Sepedi, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu. Sometimes called Southern Sotho to distinguish it from Sepedi or Northern Sotho. It is spoken by just under three million people in South Africa, especially in the provinces of the Free State and Gauteng, and by half that number again in the independent state of Lesotho.

Sesotho was one of the first African languages to be written -- a complete Bible translation was produced in 1878 -- and has an extensive literature. A Sesotho scripture in Braille is underway.

The Sesotho Virtual Resource Network is online at, for those who'd like to see what the written language looks like; and the Sesotho greeting that went out with Voyager ("We greet you, o great ones") can be heard at

Some basic words and phrases:

Hello (good day): Dumela (singular) or Dumelang (plural).
How are you?: O kae?
I'm fine, and you?: Ke teng, wena o kae?
Go well (departing greeting to the person or people leaving): Tsamaya Hantle (singular) or Tsamayang Hantle (plural)
Stay well (departing greeting to those staying): Sala Hantle (singular) or Salang Hantle (plural)
Thank you: Ke a leboha (singular) or Re a leboha (plural)
Please: Ka kopo hle
Peace: Kgosto (singular) or Kgotsong (plural).
email: Lekwalo e motlakase

Note the importance of proper inflection according to whether you're addressing a single person as opposed to two or more: Sesotho has this in common with other Bantu languages like Zulu, Xhosa or even Swahili.

The word "Sotho" is pronounced something like "sootoo", although the vowel sounds are more clipped; the "th" is harder than the English.

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