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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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