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Lozi language

Native to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa
Region Western Zambia, Zambezi
Native speakers
unknown (720,000 cited 1982–2006)[1]
Latin (Lozi alphabet)
Lozi Braille
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2 loz
ISO 639-3 loz
K.20 (K.21)[2]
Glottolog lozi1239[3]
Linguasphere 99-AUT-ef

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 Sesotho than to any other neighbouring languages in Zambia.

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


  • Vocabulary 1
  • References 2
  • External links 3
    • Lozi language stories 3.1


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


  1. ^ Lozi at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Lozi". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 

External links

  • Lozi language at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  • Lozi alphabet and pronunciation at Omniglot
  • Map of Lozi language from the LL-Map Project
  • 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
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