Tsua lexical borrowing from Setswana

  • Andy Chebanne
  • Mawande Dlali


The sociolinguistic dynamics of the situation of the Tsua (an endangered Eastern Central Kalahari Khoe language) has resulted in the language being spoken in limited social communication domains, such as with family and close friends. The use of Setswana now pervades all communication domains. Those that still have knowledge of Tsua code-switch and code-mix often. Certain basic concepts are readily expressed in Setswana. The use of borrowed words from Setswana is characterised by adoption of Setswana terms and translation of Setswana concepts into Tsua, resulting in phrasal concepts and new terms that are not in the Khoisan lexical stock or phonology. This article firstly characterises the language-use constraints that Tsua speakers experience. Secondly the situations that oblige them to borrow from Setswana are demonstrated. Further, the article discusses Tsua lexical data that show the nature, domains and phonological characteristics of this borrowing. The hypothesis made in the discussion is that lexical borrowings fulfil two important linguistic roles, namely to fill the sociocultural and linguistic gaps that exist in Tsua and Setswana and to typify the rate of endangerment of Tsua.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117