Published December 13, 2018
This video was recorded by Daniel Bogre Udell in Cape Town, South Africa and features Chichewa speaker Chabota Kanguya. Chichewa was spoken by 7,000,000 people in Malawi as of a 2001 census, with a global speaker population totaling 10,036,700. Chichewa is a Narrow Bantu language of the Benue-Congo group belonging to the Niger-Congo language family, and is one of the seven official African languages of Zambia and by some accounts the third most widely used local language in Zimbabwe. The language is also known as Chewa or Nyanja, but because it uses the chi- noun prefix for languages, it is often called Chichewa or Chinyanja. In 1968, the name was changed in Malawi from Chinyanja to Chichewa, but in Zambia, the language is generally known as Nyanja or Cinyanja/Chinyanja, meaning 'language of the lake.' Chichewa makes some use of implosive consonants, in which air is sucked inward, and is classified as a tonal language. There is a regional variety of Chichewa known as Town Nyanja that exists in Lusaka, Zambia, and differs from standard Nyanja in several key ways (influences from Bemba, loanwords from English, and differing sets of concords, or nominal agreement markings with pronouns, adjectives, and verbs), but the fact that it is not recognized as an official language and differs from the standard Nyanja taught in schools presents challenges to literacy among children in Zambia.