A Niger-Congo language and a Bantu member of the Benue-Congo group of languages (Nguni subgroup), spoken by some 2 million people chiefly in Swaziland, where it is an official language, as well as in South Africa and Mozambique. The closest linguistic affiliation is with Zulu; also known as Swati, Swazi, Tekela, or Tekeza.
Siswati is spoken in a variety of dialects, the main ones being Baca, Hlubi, and Phuthi. It is used on radio and taught in all national schools. Like many other Bantu languages, Siswati is also a tonal language. The two main tones are high and falling. On the other hand, belonging to the Nguni subgroup, like Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele, Siswati has the click sounds, borrowed from the neighbouring Khoisan-speaking areas. Modern Siswati, though, has lost all but one of the click sound sets.
The language is spelt in the Roman alphabet, following the spelling conventions used in the Nguni languages.
|Essential Siswati : a phrase-book for Swaziland - 2nd rev. ed.||SISWATI DICO 1|