|Narrow Bantu, KiNtu, Ntu|
The Bantu languages (English:
The total number of Bantu languages ranges in the hundreds, depending on the definition of
Other major Bantu languages include
The similarity between dispersed Bantu languages had been observed as early as in the 17th century.
The term "Bantu" as a name or the group was coined (as Bâ-ntu) by
The prefix ba- specifically refers to people, not language. Endonymically, the term for cultural objects is formed with the ki- noun class (Nguni ísi-), as in Kiswahili "coast language and culture" and isiZulu "Zulu language and culture".
There was a suggestion in South Africa to refer to these languages as "KiNtu" in the 1980s. However, the word kintu exists in some places, meaning "thing" with no relation to the concept of "language", it was also reported by delegates at the African Languages Association of Southern Africa conference in 1984 that in some places, the term 'Kintu' has a derogatory significance, that is, kintu refers to "things" and is used as a dehumanizing term of people who have lost their dignity.
The term "Kintu" apparently still saw occasional use in the 1990s in South Africa. In contemporary decolonial linguistics, however, the term "Ntu languages" is used, which avoids all the above pitfalls.