Southern Bantu languages

The Southern Bantu languages are a large group of Bantu languages, largely validated in Janson (1991/92).[2] They are nearly synonymous with Guthrie's Bantu zone S, apart from the exclusion of Shona and the inclusion of Makhuwa. They include all of the major Bantu languages of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique, with outliers such as Lozi in Zambia and Namibia, and Ngoni in Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi.

Southern Bantu
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland
Linguistic classificationNiger–Congo


Language groups are followed by their code in the Guthrie classification.

Some classifications prior to Janson retained Shona as a coordinate branch, along with Nyasa, or excluded Makua.

Writing systemsEdit

In a addition to the Latin alphabet most commonly used to write these languages internationally, the Ditema tsa Dinoko system is also used. It is also known as the Isibheqe Sohlamvu writing system ("Bheqe Syllabary"), and is a featural writing system, similar in function to Hangul. It represents all the Southern Bantu or siNtu languages under a single orthography.[3]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Southern Bantu–Makua". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Tore Janson (1991-92) "Southern Bantu and Makua", Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika (SUGIA) Vol. 12/13: 63-106, Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Cologne [1]
  3. ^ "Atlas of Endangered Alphabets: Indigenous and minority writing systems, and the people who are trying to save them". Retrieved 2019-02-04.