Zambia Languages

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Description

Zambia's official language is English, used in business and in education. However, Nyanja and Bemba are the main local languages. In the Copperbelt, the main language is Bemba, followed by Nyanja. The reverse is true in Lusaka, where Nyanja is the main local language, followed by Bemba. These languages are common in urban areas, which feature additional local languages as well: Lozi, Tonga, Kaonde, Luvale, and Lunda. Zambia's total number of languages spoken is 73.[1]

Nyanja is also commonly called Chewa, Chichewa, and Chinyanja.[2]

Bemba is also commonly called ChiBemba, Cibemba, Ichibemba, and Chiwemba.[3]

The native languages of Zambia are largely spoken in the following regions:[4]

  • Bemba - Northern Province, Luapula, Muchinga, Copperbelt
  • Nyanja - NyanjaLusaka
  • Lozi - Western Province
  • Tonga and Lozi - Southern Province
  • Kaonde, Luvale, and Lunda - Northwestern Province

Word List(s)

Alphabet and Pronunciation

Nyanja (Chewa/Chichewa/Chinyanja) Alphabet

Letter Pronunciation
A [ a ]
B [ b ]
C [ ʧ ]
D [ d ]
E [ e ]
F [ f ]
G [ g ]
H [ h ]
I [ i ]
J [ ʤ ]
K [ k ]
L [ Ɩ/ɫ ]
M [ m ]
N [ n ]
O [ o ]
P [ p ]
R [ ɽ ]
S [ s ]
T [ t ]
U [ u ]
V [ v ]
W [ w ]
Ŵ [ β ]
Z [ z ]

Other Letters

Letter Pronunciation
ch [ʧ]
kh [kʰ]
ng [ŋg]
ng’/ŋ [ŋ]
ph [pʰ]
tch [ʧʰ]
th [tʰ]

Bemba (ChiBemba/Cibemba/Ichibemba/Chiwemba) Alphabet

Letter Pronunciation
A [ a ]
B [ b/ɓ~w/β ]
Ch/Cc [ tʃ/tj ]
D [ d ]
E [ e ]
F [ f~v ]
G [ g ]
I [ i ]
J [ dʒ/dj ]
K [ k ]
L [ l ]
M [ m ]
N [ n ]
Ng' [ ŋʰ ]
O [ ɔ ]
P [ p ]
S [ s ]
Sh [ ʃ ]
T [ t ]
U [ u ]
V [ f~v ]
W [ w ]
Y [ j ]

Other Letters

Letter Pronunciation
aa [ aː ]
ee [ eː ]
ii [ iː ]
oo [ ɔː ]
uu [ uː ]

Language Aids and Dictionaries

Nyanja (Chewa/Chichewa/Chinyanja)


Bemba (ChiBemba/Cibemba/Ichibemba/Chiwemba)

Additional Resources

Nyanja (Chewa/Chichewa/Chinyanja)

  • Kasahoro (Organization). Modern Chewa verbs: master the simple tenses of the Chewa language. [Place of publication not identified]  : Kasahorow, 2015. Availble on WorldCat
  • Language Centre. Chichewa intensive course. [Lilongwe] [Malawi, Likuni Press] [1969]. Available on WorldCat
  • Matiki, Alfred J I. Language planning and social change : a study of linguistic exclusion and the legislative process in Malawi. 2001. Available on WorldCat
  • Orr, Gregory John, Carol Myers-Scotton. Learning Chicheŵa : a Peace Corps language course. East Lansing, Mich., U.S.A. : The Center, [©1980]. Available on WorldCat
  • Paas, Steven. Chichewa/Chinyanja-English dictionary = Chichewa/Chinyanja-Chingerezi mtanthauzira mawu. Blantyre [Malawi] : Christian Literature Association in Malawi, 2004. Available on WorldCat
  • Riddel, Alex. A grammar of the chinyanja language, as spoken at Lake Nyassa, with vocabularies. Edinburgh, 1880. Available on (WorldCat)
  • Sanderson, George Meredith, W B Bithrey. An introduction to Chinyanja. Glasgow, African Lakes Corp., 1958. Available on WorldCat
  • Sanderson, George Meredith, W B Bithrey. An introduction to Chinyanja...Second edition revised and enlarged. (Reprinted). Glasgow & Blantyre, Nyasaland: African Lakes Corp., 1947. Available on (WorldCat)
  • Stevick, Earl W, Linda Hollander. Chinyanja; basic course. Washington, Dept. of State; [for sale by the superintendent of Documents, U.S. Govt. Print. Off.] 1965. Available on (WorldCat)
  • Thomson, T D. A practical approach to Chinyanja. Somba: Malawi [not before 1966]. Available on (WorldCat)
  • Watkins, Mark Hanna. A grammar of Chichewa, a Bantu language of British Central African. New york : Kraus Reprint, 1966. Available on WorldCat

Bemba (ChiBemba/Cibemba/Ichibemba/Chiwemba)

  • Schoeffer, Father, Arthur Cornwallis Madan, James Hubert West Sheane. A Grammar of the Bemba Language as spoken in North-East Rhodesia ... Edited by J.H. West Sheane... Arranged, with preface, by A.C. Madan. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1907. Available on WorldCat
  • Gray, Andrew, Phallen Bwalya. Bemba : a learner's guide to Zambia's largest language. [Lusaka, Zambia] : [publisher not identified], [2015]. Available on WorldCat
  • Hoch, E. Bemba classified vocabulary. [Chinsali], [1964]. Available on WorldCat
  • Language Centre, Ilondola, Zambia. A bemba assimil = Untangle Bemba yourself, and learn it by speaking with the help of tapes. Ilondola : Language Centre, [between 1964 and 1976]. Available on WorldCat
  • Robertson, W Govan, London Missionary Society. An introductory handbook to the language of the Bemba people (Awemba). London : London Missionary Society, 1904. Available on WorldCat
  • Fox-Pitt, T S L. Chibemba note book, with an elementary grammar of the language. London : Longman's Green, 1955. Available on WorldCat

References

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Zambia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zambia#Languages, accessed 19 September 2018.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Chewa language," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewa_language, accessed 20 September 2018.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Bemba language," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bemba_language, accessed 20 September 2018.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Languages of Zambia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Zambia, accessed 19 September 2018.