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What are the main languages of South Africa?

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Quick Answer

The main languages in South Africa are Zulu and Xhosa. Afrikaans and English are the third and fourth most commonly spoken languages, respectively. Other official languages of South Africa are Ndebele, Setswana, Sotho, Swazi and Tsonga.

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Full Answer

As of 2011, roughly 11.5 million, or 23 percent of South Africans speak Zulu, making it the most common language in the country. This is followed by Xhosa, spoken by 16 percent of the population. Afrikaans speakers comprise 13.5 percent of the population.

English speakers primarily reside in urban centers and comprise 9.6 percent of South Africans. 8 percent of people speak Setswana and 7.5 percent speak Sesotho.

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