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PanAfriL10n - PanAfrLoc - Lozi

Lozi - Silozi

1.  Classification / Classification

Lozi belongs to the Lozi Group of Bantu Proper (Guthrie K20), closely related to Sotho. (Webbook?) It is also called SiLozi.

Ethnologue? gives the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.30)


2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

It is spoken in Western Province, Zambia, and around urban Livingstone, Zambia. (Webbook)

Barotseland, Western Province, and Southern Province near Livingstone. Also spoken in Botswana, Namibia (Caprivi), Zimbabwe. (Ethnologue)


3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to Ethnologue (accessed 2015):

  • 612,000 in Zambia (2010 census)
    • ("De facto language of provincial identity in portions of Western and Southern provinces")
  • 70,000 in Zimbabwe (1982)
  • 28,600 in Namibia (2006)
    • ("Spoken as lingua franca by all residents of East Caprivi Strip")
  • 14,000 in Botswana (2006)
  • Population total all countries: 724,600

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

No dialect survey has come to our attention as of this writing. There are many varieties of Lozi. Most materials are prepared in one of two styles, either in classical/literary Lozi or in popular [Lozi]. It is felt by many that the two varieties are not mutually intelligible. (Webbook)


5.  Usage / Utilisation

Lozi is an official language? in Zambia and an important lingua franca in western DR Congo. Lozi is broadcast in Zambia and DR Congo, as well as from South Africa. The Zambian Bureau of Information publishes the monthly Liseli in Lozi. (Webbook) [verify information]

Ethnologue notes that it is used on radio and in newspapers, and that it is "Recognized for educational and administrative purposes" in Zambia. And that in Namibia it is a national language that is: "Spoken as lingua franca by all East Caprivians. Used in education, administration."


6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

According to Heine (1970), "Lozi has its own alphabet and literature." (Webbook)

Zambia clarified its orthography in 1977 (Kashoki, et al, 1998). The orthography in Namibia was apparently not very good (Elderkin 1998).

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

The Zambian orthography for Lozi is on the Zambia page (1.3.a). It the letters and digraphs are summarized here:
a b c ch d e f g h i j k l m n ñ o p s sh t u w y z

A sample text is shown on the "Language Museum" site: http://www.language-museum.com/l/lozi.htm


7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

TUMELELANO YE TUNA YA SWANELO YA MUTU (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/lbm1.htm

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

Not aware of any initiatives on this.

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

  • ISO 639-1: -
  • ISO 639-2: loz
  • ISO 639-3: loz

7.6  Other / Autre

Introduction, phrases & Silozi-English dictionary at http://www.barotseland.com/silozi1.htm


8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

A Silozi working group was set up at the Cross-Border Languages Workshop in Okahandja, Namibia in 1996 (See Legère, ed. 1998).

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile


9.  Comments / Remarques

Content could follow the practice for other materials (see no. 4) re classical and literary styles. Would efforts to localise user interfaces be able to find commonly recognized terminology?


10.  References / Références

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, http://africa.isp.msu.edu/afrlang/hiermenu.html (page on "Lozi (Silozi)," http://africa.isp.msu.edu/afrlang/Lozi_root.html )

Elderkin, E.D. 1998. "Silozi and Namibia." In K. Legère, ed. Cross-border languages : reports and studies, Regional Workshop on Cross-Border Languages, National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), Okahandja, 23-27 September 1996. Windhoek : Gamsberg Macmillan.

Kashoki, M.E., M.E. Katengo, and M. Mundia. 1998. "Cross-border Language Perspectives: Experiences and Lessons from Zambia Focus on SiLozi." In K. Legère, ed. Cross-border languages : reports and studies, Regional Workshop on Cross-Border Languages, National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), Okahandja, 23-27 September 1996. Windhoek : Gamsberg Macmillan.

Legère, Karsten, ed. 1998. Cross-border languages : reports and studies, Regional Workshop on Cross-Border Languages, National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), Okahandja, 23-27 September 1996. Windhoek : Gamsberg Macmillan.

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Lozi," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=loz

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php

Wikipedia, "Lozi language," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lozi_language


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Categories: Languages, Zambia, Western Zimbabwe, NE Namibia, Northern Botswana