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Khoekhoe (Khoekhoegowab)

Khoekhoe is a Khoisan languages spoken by approximately 250,000 people in parts of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. It is spoken by three ethnic groups of people: the Nama (Khoekhoen), Damar and Haiǁom, and is also known as Nama.

Khoekhoe is a national language in Nambia and is used in education at all levels, as well as on the radio. There are also Khoekhoe radio programmes in South Africa.

In the past the term Hottentot was used to refer to the Khoekhoe language and those who spoke it. This name was coined by early Dutch settlers, who, upon hearing the language spoken, thought that all the natives were saying was 'hot' and 'tot'. It is now considered rascist and is no longer used.

The first European to study the Khoekhoe language was Georg Friedricj Wreede, who arrived in Cape Town in 1659.

Khoekhoe alphabet and pronunciation

Khoekhoe alphabet and pronunication



Sample text in Khoekhoe

ǂKam ǃũi-aob gye ǁẽib di gūna ǃhomi ǃna gye ǃũi hã i. ǀGui tsēb gye ǃgare-ǀuiï di ǃkhareï ei heiï di somi ǃna gye ǂnõa i, tsĩb gye ǁom tsĩ sĩgurase gye ǃgan-tana, tanaba ra ǃhororose. Ob gye ǁẽib ǁgūse gyere ǃũ beiraba ǃũi-aob ta ǃkamsa ǁgoa bi, ti gye ǂẽi. ǁNatib gye ǂnirase gye ǂhomisen, tsĩb gye ǁhei-ǂnu ei bi nĩse ǃgũṅ tsĩ ǀnĩ dā-ǃharoroti gose gye ǂgai-ǃoa-ǃoasen, tsĩb gye ǃũi-aob ei ǁhei-ǂnũ tsĩ ǁkhōse gye ǃkhā bi.

Ob gye ǃũi-aoba ǁkhōse ǂkon ǂoms ãba xu ǂkei-ǂkeihe, tsĩ gye ǁgao tsĩb gye ǁeixa hãse uri-khài tsĩ beiraba gye ǃkhō, tsĩ ǁnāba gye ǀgūse mã i tsouï ǃna gye ǀnami-ǁna bi. Xawe ǁnāsan nĩ nou gūna mũ, timis ǀkan gye beiraba sau tsĩ tsoub ǃna gye uri-ǁgõa tsĩ ǀkhom-ǀkhomsase ǃgaregu ei gye ǂku. ǁNatib gye ǃũi-aoba ǃgawua-ǃna hãse ǀũn ãba ra tsuru-!ã gye ǂgei. "ǂKawa ǁeiba xu ǂgosen tama īs gye ǂkhõas tsĩ ǀam-ǂgōsens tsĩna ra ū-hā."


One day a young shepherd was watching his sheep on a mountainside. While he was sitting on a rock in the shade of a tree, his head nodded forward and fell asleep. A ram grazing nearby, seeing the shepherd lower his head, thought he was threatening to fight. So he got ready, and drawing himself back a few paces he launched himself at the shepherd and butted him severely.

The shepherd, thus rudely awakened from his sleep, arose angrily, caught the ram, and threw him into a well standing nearby. But the moment the other sheep saw their leader fall into the well, they followed him in and were dashed to pieces on the rocks. So the shepherd, tearing his hair, cried out: "What sorrow and trouble are brought about by useless anger!"

Information about Khoekhoe | Khoekhoe phrases | Khoekhoe numbers | Tower of Babel in Khoekhoe


Information about the Khoekhoe (Nama) language

Video lessons in Khoekhoe

Words and phrases in Khoekhoe

Information about the Khoekhoe People

Khoisan languages

Khoekhoe (Nama), Nǁng (Nǁŋǃke)

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet