Sotho, noun

Forms:
Ceuta, ShutuShow more Formerly also Ceuta, Shutu, Sutho, Suthu, Suto, Sutu.
Origin:
SothoShow more From Sotho Mosotho (see Mosotho), and seSotho the language of the Sotho; the noun stem -Sotho may be from the adjectival stem sootho brown, or from the name of the Usutu river (see quotation 1978 at sense 1 a).
Note:
In Sotho orthography, the letter o in the noun stem -Sotho represents a vowel sound between /o/ and /u/. This is often interpreted by English-speakers as /u/, hence the apparent discrepancy between the South African English orthography and pronunciation of this word, and the frequent use of the letter u in earlier texts. A similar pattern is found in the word Mosotho.
I. People.
1. Plural Sothos. a. Especially in academic texts: a member of any of several linguistically and culturally related African peoples constituting the large group which includes the Basotho, Lobedu, Pedi, and Tswana; also called Sotho-Tswana. b. Especially in popular use, or with reference to (former) official ethnic categories: a member of one of the Southern Sotho or Northern Sotho peoples (see sense 1 c below), as opposed to those of the Tswana (or Western Sotho) group. Also attributive. See also Mosotho.
Note:
Sotho people live mainly in Botswana and Lesotho, and (in South Africa) in the (former) Transvaal and parts of the Orange Free State.
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 34All that can be ascertained is, that they belonged to the Ceuta tribe, a very formidable, but very distant nation.
1937 B.H. Dicke Bush Speaks 42In Majate’s country Schiel rallied all the Magwamba still there...The following day not a single Suto could be found on the plains which had been gone through with a fine comb.
a1968 D.C. Themba in E. Patel World of Can Themba (1985) 117The different tribes are separated. There is a building for the Sotho group, a set of buildings for the Nguni (Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi) group, another for the Venda-Shangaan group.
1970 B. Davidson Old Afr. 223The Sotho are thought to have gone south over the river into what is now the Transvaal in the middle of the fifteenth century, or thereabouts.
1976 West & Morris Abantu 8The Sotho comprise about 28% of the South African black population.
1976 West & Morris Abantu 133The word Sotho simply means ‘black people’, which raises the interesting questions: how and why did they receive this name — and from whom?
1977 T.R.H. Davenport S. Afr.: Mod. Hist. 7The area of Sotho dominance between the Drakensberg, the Kalahari and the Limpopo was apparently occupied by two further settler waves.
1978 Reader’s Digest Illust. Guide to Sn Afr. 298It was the Nguni people from the east coast who called them all the Suthu (‘dark brown people’), not because of their colour, but because they were first encountered when they were living in the valley of the Usutu River in Swaziland.
1980 Lye & Murray Transformations 25The generic name, Sotho, which is widely adopted today, is accepted by all but a few of the Western Tswana clans and derives from their own language. ‘BaSotho’ translates from their language as ‘Black People’.
1984 S. Afr. Panorama Feb. 43These men..are drawn from..Southern Africa’s Black peoples, ranging from the Tswanas in the west to the Sotho, Shangaan, Zulu and Xhosa groups in the east.
1986 P. Maylam Hist. of Afr. People 20In the twentieth century the vast majority of African people south of the Limpopo have come to be classified under one of two broad generic labels — Nguni or Sotho.
1987 P. Cull in E. Prov. Herald 1 May 4In Natal and the Orange Free State..the major black groups were Zulus and Sothos respectively...It might be possible to divide the Cape into the Eastern Cape with Xhosas, Western Cape also with Xhosas and Northern Cape with Tswanas.
c. With distinguishing epithet:
North Sotho or Northern Sotho, a member of a group comprised of the Pedi and Lobedu peoples; see also Lobedu, Pedi noun sense 1;
South Sotho or Southern Sotho, Mosotho;
Western Sotho, Tswana sense 2 a. Also attributive.
1971 Daily Dispatch 4 Feb. 1The Minister..had had consultations with the territorial authorities of..the South Sotho, the Tswanas, the Venda, the North Sotho and the Machangana.
1974 W.W.M. Eiselen in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. X. 64The Western Sotho are generally known as the Tswana. The other two sub-divisions of the Sotho group both lay claim to the name ‘Sotho’, for which reason they are distinguished as Northern and Southern Sotho.
c1980 S. Afr. 1979: Off. Yrbk (Info. Service of S. Afr.) 84The North Sotho speaks the language of the Pedi, spoken by 20 million people in the eastern, north-eastern and north-western Transvaal.
1980 D.B. Coplan Urbanization of African Performing Arts. 207Whatever its origins as a term, marabi was a product of the Johannesburg slumyards and could not have emerged in the small, predominantly Northern Sotho location of Marabastad.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 66The principal group among the northern Sotho were the Pedi, a branch of the iron-working ’Kgatla people.
1973 Drum 8 Mar. 35I am a Southern Sotho, who would like to have male and female penpals to correspond with.
c1980 S. Afr. 1979: Off. Yrbk (Info. Service of S. Afr.) 84The South Sotho of South Africa and those of the Lesotho kingdom share a common origin. They speak the same language and share other cultural characteristics. The Basotho of Lesotho are, however, the nucleus of the South Sotho people.
1983 Survey of Race Rel. 1982 (S.A.I.R.R.) 403The Commissioner-General of the South Sotho..stated that Qwa Qwa could never become a viable economic state.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 66The country now known as Lesotho has probably been occupied by the southern Sotho people, called the Basotho, since the 16th century.
1974 W.W.M. Eiselen in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. X. 64The Northern and the Western Sotho have remained separate groups...The Western Sotho are generally known as Tswana.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 67The basis of western Sotho society was the family, of which several went to make up a ward, under the authority of a hereditary headman.
II. Language.
2.
a. Any language of the Southern Sotho or Northern Sotho groups (see sense 2 c below). Also combination (objective) Sotho-speaking participial adjective.
1928 Africa I. 481In reality there are two main branches of this group, Chwana spoken in Bechwanaland and the Western Transvaal, and Suto with its main dialects.
1941 R. Roamer in Bantu World 25 Jan. 4In Xhosa and Sutho it urged us to ‘come in our thousands and fight..low wages and discriminating laws’.
1959 B. Bunting in New Age Dec. 6Published in Xosa, Sotho and Zulu, the journal is packed with picture stories of ‘society’ Africans who have ‘made good’.
1968 Drum Sept. 36I managed even to get a neatly typewritten letter on how he was converted to this religion. It is in Sotho.
1976 J. Becker Virgins (1986) 11Susan explained in Sotho, and reported; ‘She say she has no papers, Mam, but she has worked on the farm at home as washgirl.’
1979 W. Ebersohn Lonely Place 12Two black policemen..leaning against a wall and talking softly in Sotho.
1983 Drum June 89I will only reply to letters with photos please. You can write to me in either Sotho or English.
1987 New Nation 12 Feb. 4As a result of Bophuthatswana’s independence in 1977, the Tswana authorities refused their Sotho-speaking neighbours work permits, residential rights and mother-tongue instruction in schools under their control.
b. Any of the group of languages spoken by the Sotho and Tswana peoples; these languages as a group; Sesotho sense 2. Also attributive, and combination (objective) Sotho-speaking participial adjective. See also Sotho-Tswana.
1950 H. Gibbs Twilight in S. Afr. 33Divided into groups, forming the South African Bantu languages, the south-eastern groups have five group languages, Nguni, Sotho, Venda, Tonga, and Inhambane, among which fusion has occurred, producing in the Nguni groups, Xosa and Zulu; in the Sotho group, Southern and Northern Sotho and Tswana; in the Tonga group, Ronga, Tonga and Tswa; in the Inhambane group, Chopi and Tonga; and in the Venda group a language which is homogenous.
1961 R.A. Paroz Sn Sotho-Eng. Dict. p.iEugene Casalis, it is true, did very soon write a book on Sotho grammar (Etudes sur la Langue Sechuana, 1841) but no systematic list of words was added in the book.
1974 W.W.M. Eiselen in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. X. 72The Western Sotho are a sub-group of the Sotho-speaking Bantu peoples of Southern Africa and comprise over 50 tribes, collectively known in anthropological literature as the Tswana.
1977 T.R.H. Davenport S. Afr.: Mod. Hist. 7The original Sotho speakers are not easy to identify. Among the first were the Fokeng.
1990 R. Stengel January Sun 38The Tswana are a Sotho-speaking people of small, patrilineal communities who migrated into central South Africa in the fifteenth century.
c. With distinguishing epithet designating a particular sub-division of the Sotho language group:
North Sotho or Northern Sotho, the group of Sotho dialects spoken in the northern parts of South Africa; see also Sepedi;
South Sotho or Southern Sotho, the group of Sotho dialects spoken in Lesotho and the Orange Free State; Sesotho sense 1; see also sense 2 a above.
Note:
The three major Sotho languages are sePedi, Southern Sotho, and seTswana (see Setswana).
1961 R.A. Paroz Sn Sotho-Eng. Dict. p.vThe seventh edition, Southern Sotho-English Dictionary, thus called in order to distinguish it clearly from other books dealing with Northern or Transvaal Sotho, appeared in 1950.
1973 Drum 22 May 31I would like girls not older than 22, and letters can be written in English, Zulu, North Sotho or Tsonga.
1961 R.A. Paroz Sn Sotho-Eng. Dict. p.iWhen the first Europeans made contact with Mosheshoe and his tribe, about the year 1833, the language which is now called Southern Sotho or Basutoland Sotho had not been reduced to writing yet.
1984 P. Dickens in Jrnl of Afr. Lang. & Ling. Vol.6 No.2, 110Let us look at Southern Sotho, a language spoken in an area adjacent to the Tswana region.
a member of any of several linguistically and culturally related African peoples constituting the large group which includes the Basotho, Lobedu, Pedi, and Tswana; also called Sotho-Tswana.
a member of one of the Southern Sotho or Northern Sotho peoples (see 1 c below), as opposed to those of the Tswana (or Western Sotho) group. Also attributive.
Any language of the Southern Sotho or Northern Sotho groups (see 2 c below). Also combination (objective) Sotho-speakingparticipial adjective.
Any of the group of languages spoken by the Sotho and Tswana peoples; these languages as a group; Sesotho2. Also attributive, and combination (objective) Sotho-speakingparticipial adjective.
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