Lozi language

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia
Native toZambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa
RegionWestern Zambia, Zambezi
Native speakers
(725,000 cited 1982–2010 census)[1]
  • Atlantic–Congo
    • Benue–Congo
      • Southern Bantoid
        • Bantu
          • Southern Bantu
            • Sotho–Tswana
              • Lozi
Latin (Lozi alphabet)
Lozi Braille
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2loz
ISO 639-3loz
K.20 (K.21)[3]

Lozi, also known as siLozi and Rozi, is a Bantu language of the Niger–Congo language family within the Sotho languages branch of Zone S (S.30), that is spoken by the Lozi people, primarily in southwestern Zambia and in surrounding countries. This language is most closely related to Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Leboa), Tswana (Setswana), Kgalagari (SheKgalagari) and Sotho (Sesotho/Southern Sotho). Lozi and its dialects are spoken and understood by approximately six percent of the population of Zambia. Silozi is the autoglottonym or name of the language used by its native speakers as defined by the United Nations. Lozi is the heteroglottonym.

The Lozi language developed from a mixture of two languages: Luyana and Kololo. The Luyana people originally migrated south from the Luba-Lunda empire in the Katanga area of the Congo River basin, either late in the 17th century or early in the 18th century. The language they spoke, therefore, was closely related to Luba and Lunda. They settled on the floodplains of the upper Zambezi River in what is now western Zambia and developed a kingdom, Barotseland, and also gave their name to the Barotse Floodplain or Bulozi.

The Kololo were a Sotho people who used to live in what is now Lesotho. The Kololo were forced to flee from Shaka Zulu's Mfecane during the 1830s. Using tactics they had copied from the Zulu armies, the Kololo conquered the Luyana on the Zambezi floodplains and imposed their rule and language. However, by 1864 the indigenous population revolted and overthrew the Kololo. By that time, the Luyana language had been largely forgotten; the new hybrid language is called Lozi or Silozi and is closer to Sesotho than to any other neighbouring languages in Zambia.

Lozi is also spoken in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia (Zambezi Region).


Names of month
English Lozi
January Sope
February Yowa
March Liatamanyi
April Lungu
May Kandao
June Mbuwana
July Sikulu
August Muyana
September Muimunene
October Yenda
November Njimwana
December Ñulule

See also


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  1. Lozi at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) Template:Subscription required
  2. Lua error in ...ribunto/includes/engines/LuaCommon/lualib/mwInit.lua at line 23: bad argument #1 to 'old_ipairs' (table expected, got nil).
  3. Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online

External links

Lozi language stories