Nama language

From Academic Kids

Nama (Khoekhoegowab)
Spoken in: Namibia, Botswana,
South Africa
Region: Orange River, Great Namaland
Total speakers: 233,000

Namibia: approx. 176,000
Botswana: 200 to 1,000
South Africa: approx. 56,000

Ranking: Not in top 100
Genetic classification: Khoisan

 Southern Africa

Official status
Official language of: -
Regulated by: -
Language codes
ISO 639-1-
ISO 639-2khi
See also: LanguageList of languages

Nama is a Khoisan language spoken in Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. It has 3 tones and 5 vowels. There are 20 click consonants in Nama. The name of the Nama speakers, Khoikhoin or Khoekhoen, is from the Nama word kxi, which apparently means person or man, reduplicated and with the suffix -n to indicate plural. According to Ethnologue, there are 233,000 speakers as of 1998.



Nama is a Khoisan language, of the Central South African languages subphylum.

Geographic distribution

Nama has 233,000 speakers in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.




There are a total of 42 phonemes. Nama has the vowels /a e i o u/ and their nasal forms. There are three tones, so <> is in the low tone and <> is in the high tone.

Consonental Phonemes

stop p t k '
fricative s x h
africate tskx
nasal m n
tap r


dental alveolar palatal lateral
velar stop / ! = //
aspirated /h !h =h //h
with glottal stop /' !' =' //'
nasal /n !n =n //n
velar africate /x !x =x //x


Nama has a Subject-Object-Verb word order.


Xam-i ke 'a /rn hn t k'ao ksep 'a /asa, /m //x, xp kx, tsi !hse ra !xs !'rma.

Tsi matsekm //akas hsp ke =xam xam- !rop !naa ='o tsi //'iip t /asp s kr /noku n /rn /xa. Tsi ma tses hsp ke //'iip kr 'a-/xi tn'aose. Tsi nee =has ke /rn !hp hrkap !naa k //nh tsi ='nh 'i xam-i 'a /rn t k'ao !xis. Tsi ma tses h'ap kr 'a-/xi tn tsis kx!a 'oos ke //'iip t //uus kr kopi "t 'tse! /m !nrtse! xp kxtse! /m //xtse! 'ore kxetse!" t.

Xapes ke / tsekm //aka kx-m tsip ke =xam xam- krsn 'oo !x/xapi "/m //xtse! /m !nrtse! xam //'oatse! xp kxtse!" t, !x/xapi t tsi k m "am'aseta ke ra =m sats ma /rn hn xaa 'a /asa !xis. Ma tses hsts ke sats ='o !rop !naa tsi 'a-/xi tsi ra //aute 'am'asets sats 'a /rn t k'ao !xis. Xape, t 'tse! / tsets ke n ='o !rop !naa. Tsi ='o tsits !rop !naa ra !uumaa h'ats ke =xar xuurp =hanse ra !u !xot !naa =na tnsep n mu. Tsi, t 'tse! /m //xtse! /m !nrtse! xp kxtse! //na =xar xuurp /xats kr /ha' tses //nas 's ke sres n =aa 'a-/xi tamats ha h'a. //na xuurp t /'ns ke "kxep" t ra =ah.

English Translation

The lion is king of all the beasts because he is very strong, thick of chest, slim of waist, and runs fast.

Every morning, the young lion would go out into the forest and compare his strength with the other beasts. And every day he would return the victor. This news was heard and known throughout the animal world: that the lion was king of the beasts. Every day that he would return victorious, his mother would praise him, "Son of mine! Thick of neck! Thick of chest! He-man!"

But one morning, when having got up the young lion was stretching, she praised him, "Thick of chest! Thick of neck! Lion-armed! Slim of waist!," finished praising him and said, "I truly believe that you are strongest of all the beasts. Every day you go out into the forest and return, and show me that you are truly king of the beasts. But, my son, one day you will go out into the forest. And while you are out walking around in the forest, you will see a little thing which walks straight, its head sitting on its shoulders. And, Son of mine! Thick of chest! Thick of neck! Slim of waist!, the day you meet that little thing, on that day the sun will set while you have not returned. The name of that little thing is called 'man'.


See also

External links

Template:Khoisanko:나마어 nl:Nama (taal)


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