Shona Language

Shona Language

Shona (or chiShona) is a Bantu language, native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia; the term is also used to identify peoples who speak one of the Shona language dialects: Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore. (Some researchers include Kalanga: others recognise Kalanga as a distinct language in its own right.) Shona is a principal language of Zimbabwe, along with Ndebele and the official business language, English. Shona is spoken by a large percentage of the people in Zimbabwe. Other countries that host Shona language speakers are Zambia and Botswana and Mozambique.

Shona is the Bantu language most widely spoken as a native language. According to Ethnologue, Shona comprising the Karanga, Zezuru, and Korekore dialects, is spoken by about 10.8 million people. Manyika and Ndau dialects of Shona, listed separately by Ethnologue, and are spoken by 1,025,000 and 2,380,000 people, respectively. The total figure of Shona speakers is then about 14.2 million people. Zulu is the second most widely spoken Bantu language with 10.3 million speakers according to Ethnologue.

Shona is a written standard language with an orthography and grammar that was codified during the early 20th century and fixed in the 1950s. The first novel in Shona, Solomon Mutswairo's Feso, was published in 1957. Shona is taught in the schools but is not the general medium of instruction in other subjects. It has a literature and is described through monolingual and bilingual dictionaries (chiefly Shona – English). Modern Shona is based on the dialect spoken by the Karanga people of Masvingo Province, the region around Great Zimbabwe, and Zezuru people of central and northern Zimbabwe. However, all Shona dialects are officially considered to be of equal significance and are taught in local schools.

Shona is a member of the large family of Bantu languages. In Guthrie's zonal classification of Bantu languages, zone S10 designates a dialect continuum of closely related varieties, including Shona proper, Manyika, Nambya, and Ndau, spoken in Zimbabwe and central Mozambique; Tawara and Tewe, found in Mozambique; and Ikalanga of Botswana and Western Zimbabwe.

Shona speakers most likely moved into present day Zimbabwe from the Mapungubwe and K2 communities in Limpopo South Africa before the invasion of the English settlers. A common misconception is that the speakers of the Karanga dialect were absorbed into the Ndebele culture and language turning them into Kalanga. This misconception is a direct result of the political bias in the national curriculum framework of Zimbabwe. The Kalanga language is widely spoken in Botswana where the Ndebele were never present. The Kalanga language is thought to have been the language used by the Mapungubweans (Department of Archeology Witts University). If this is accurate it follows that the Karanga dialect of Shona is a derivative of Kalanga. Karanga is closer to Kalanga than the rest of the aforementioned dialects. Karanga and Kalanga are both closer to Venda than the other Shona dialects.

Read more about Shona LanguageDialects, Phonology and Alphabet

Other articles related to "shona language, shona, languages":

Shona Language - Phonology and Alphabet - Whistled Sibilants
... Shona and other languages of Southern and Eastern Africa include whistling sounds, unlike most other languages where whistling signals a speech disorder ... should not be confused with whistled speech.) Shona's whistled sibilants are the fricatives "sv" and "zv" and the affricates "tsv" and "dzv" ... stars" masvosve "ants" tsv tsvaira "sweep" (Standard Shona) svw masvavembasvwi "schemer" (Shangwe, Korekore dialect) zv zvizvuvhutswa "gold nuggets" (Tsunga, Zezuru dialect) dzv akadzva "he/she was ...

Famous quotes containing the word language:

    The world does not speak. Only we do. The world can, once we have programmed ourselves with a language, cause us to hold beliefs. But it cannot propose a language for us to speak. Only other human beings can do that.
    Richard Rorty (b. 1931)