Venda or Tshivenda is a Bantu
language and an official language of South Africa
. It is mainly spoken by the Venda people
in the northern part of South Africa's Limpopo Province
, as well as by some Lemba people
. The Venda language is related to Kalanga
, which is spoken in Zimbabwe and Botswana. During the apartheid
era of South Africa, the bantustan
was set up to cover the Venda speakers of South Africa.
According to the 2011 census, Venda speakers are concentrated in the following areas: Makhado Local Municipality
, with 350,000 people; Thulamela Local Municipality
, with 370,000 people; Musina Local Municipality
, with 35,000 people; and Mutale Local Municipality
, with 89,000 people. The total number of speakers in Vhembe district currently stands at 844,000. In Gauteng province, there are 275,000 Venda speakers. Fewer than 10,000 are spread across the rest of the country — for a total number of Venda speakers in South Africa at 1.2 million people or just 2.2% of South Africa's population, making Venda speakers the second smallest minority language in South Africa, after the Ndebele language
, which number 1.1 million speakers.
The Venda language uses the Latin alphabet
with five additional accented letters. There are four dental consonant
s with a circumflex accent
below the letter (''ḓ, ḽ, ṋ, ṱ'') and an overdot
''ṅ''. Five vowel letters are used to write seven vowels. The letters C, J and Q are used only for foreign words and names.
The extra letters have the following Unicode
* Ḓ U+1E12 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER D WITH CIRCUMFLEX BELOW
* ḓ U+1E13 LATIN SMALL LETTER D WITH CIRCUMFLEX BELOW
* Ḽ U+1E3C LATIN CAPITAL LETTER L WITH CIRCUMFLEX BELOW
* ḽ U+1E3D LATIN SMALL LETTER L WITH CIRCUMFLEX BELOW
* Ṅ U+1E44 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER N WITH DOT ABOVE
* ṅ U+1E45 LATIN SMALL LETTER N WITH DOT ABOVE
* Ṋ U+1E4A LATIN CAPITAL LETTER N WITH CIRCUMFLEX BELOW
* ṋ U+1E4B LATIN SMALL LETTER N WITH CIRCUMFLEX BELOW
* Ṱ U+1E70 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER T WITH CIRCUMFLEX BELOW
* ṱ U+1E71 LATIN SMALL LETTER T WITH CIRCUMFLEX BELOW
Luṱhofunḓeraru lwa Mibvumo
The ''sintu'' writing system ''Isibheqe Sohlamvu/Ditema tsa Dinoko
'', known technically in Venda as ''Luṱhofunḓeraru lwa Mibvumo'', is also used for the Venda language.
Venda distinguishes dental
''ṱ, ṱh, ḓ, ṋ, ḽ'' from alveolar
''t, th, d, n, l'' as well as (like in Ewe
''f, v'' from bilabial
''fh, vh'' (the last two are slightly rounded
). There are no clicks; ''x'' has the sound of ''ch'' in ''loch'' or ''Bach''. As in other South African languages like Zulu
, ''ph, ṱh, th, kh'' are aspirated and the "plain" stops ''p, ṱ, t,'' and ''k'' are ejective
There are five vowel sounds: .
A labiodental nasal sound appears in prenasalised consonant sounds, and is often used from loanwords. Labiovelar sounds occur as alternatives to labiopalatal sounds and may also be pronounced . Fortition
of occurs after nasal prefixes, likely to .
[Jeff Mielke, 2008. ''The emergence of distinctive features'', p 139ff]
Venda has a specified tone, , with unmarked syllables having a low tone. Phonetic falling tone occurs only in sequences of more than one vowel or on the penultimate syllable if the vowel is long. Tone patterns exist independently of the consonants and vowels of a word and so they are word tone
s. Venda tone also follows Meeussen's rule
: when a word beginning with a high tone is preceded by that high tone, the initial high tone is lost. (That is, there cannot be two adjacent marked high tones in a word, but high tone spreads allophonically to a following non-tonic ("low"-tone) syllable.) There are only a few tone patterns in Venda words (no tone, a single high tone on some syllable, two non-adjacent high tones), which behave as follows:
*G. Poulos, ''A linguistic analysis of Venda'', 1990.
Tshivenḓa Grammar Guide
by Zach Gershkoﬀ, US Peace Corps
(2012).PanAfrican L10n page on VendaYoung kasahorow Dictionary in Venda
Project to translate Free and Open Source Software into all the official languages of South Africa, including Venda
Category:Southern Bantu languages
Category:Languages of South Africa
Category:Languages of Zimbabwe