oa Marang : Journal of Language and Literature - An analysis of two setswana colour terms: Ntsho and Tshweu

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1816-7659



This paper explores the linguistic contexts, uses and meanings of the colour terms ntsho (black) and tshweu (white) in Setswana. Using a corpus data, the paper argues that the two terms display cultural and linguistic meanings which are sometimes lacking in Setswana dictionaries and certain translations. The analysis of the data reveals that the two colour terms collocate with a variety of other words in the language to result in a complex array of meanings. Further, the analysis reveals that while traditionally ntsho is associated with negative semantics, it is used in a variety of senses to celebrate heroes and heroines in Setswana culture. In a similar way, tshweu has negative senses in certain limited contexts.

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