Learn Chichewa (Nyanja)

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About Chichewa (Nyanja)

Chichewa, also known as Chewa, is an official language of Malawi and is spoken in Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The language used to be called Chinyanja - as it still is in Zambia - but in Malawi it officially became Chichewa in 1968, at which time the President of Malawi was from the Chewa tribe. Chichewa is part of the Bantu language family which spreads across most of sub-Saharan Africa, so it is related to languages as far-reaching as Zulu, Kirundi and Tswana.

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Fun facts — Chichewa (Nyanja)

  • The Chichewa word for shoe polish means 'medicine of shoes'.
  • In Malawi, the language is called 'the language of the Chewa people' and in Zambia it is known as 'the language of the lake'.
  • Like all Bantu languages, nouns are divided into various classes recognisable by the prefix at the beginning of words. Languages belong to the 'chi-' class. This is related to the 'ki-' in Kiswahili and the 'isi-' in IsiXhosa and IsiZulu.

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