|Native to||Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa|
|Region||Western Zambia, Zambezi|
|(725,000 cited 1982–2010 census)|
Latin (Lozi alphabet)|
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 alphabet and pronunciation at Omniglot
- A sample paragraph in Lozi
- Silozi-English Dictionary, glossaries, beginner's guide, other info
- Lozi English Dictionary from Webster's Online Dictionary - The Rosetta Edition
- PanAfrican L10n page on Lozi
- OLAC resources in and about the Lozi language
Lozi language stories
- Sibetta, O.Kwibisa, Ze Patezwi ba Banca, Lubuto Library Special Collections, accessed May 3, 2014
- Silozi language stories, Lubuto Library Special Collections, accessed May 3, 2014