Xhosa (isiXhosa)

Xhosa (isiXhosa) translation services


Niger-Congo > Bantu



Text direction



7 million

Other names


Official language

South Africa

Interesting Fact

Like Chinese, the South African language of Xhosa is tonal, meaning that pronouncing syllables with a different tone may change the meaning of words.


Xhosa is a Bantu language together with other African languages, such as Tswana, Kinyarwanda, Swahili and Lingala to name but a few.

Xhosa is one of the 11 official languages and the second most spoken language in South Africa. Xhosa speakers refer to themselves as speakers of isiXhosa where the prefix “isi-” is a noun class identifier used to indicate that “Xhosa” is a noun related to language or culture. There are 15 of these classes, which appear as prefixes to nouns; for example, liquids start with the prefix “ama” (Amanzi = water), while the names for animals start with Ing (Ingwe = leopard).

Xhosa is mutually intelligible with Zulu, Northern Ndebele and Swati. Xhosa is a tonal language (with both low and high tones) meaning differing tones will change the meaning of a word. It also makes use of a high number of click-based sounds (click here to hear).

The National Anthem of South Africa is sung in five different languages – the first two lines in Xhosa, the second two lines in Zulu, then Sotho, Afrikaans and finally English for one stanza each.

Services offered for this language

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