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The Xhosa language is properly referred to as isiXhosa . It is a Bantu language closely related to Zulu, Swazi, and Ndebele. As with other South African languages, Xhosa is characterized by respectful forms of address for elders and in-laws. The language is also rich in idioms. To have isandla esishushu (a warm hand), for example, is to be generous.
Xhosa contains many words with click consonants that have been borrowed from Khoi or San words. The "X" in Xhosa represents a type of click made by the tongue on the side of the mouth. This consonant sounds something like the clicking sound English-speaking horseback riders make to encourage their horses. English speakers who have not mastered clicks often pronounce Xhosa as "Ko-Sa."

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