Ethnologue: Areas: Africa

Zambia

10,174,000 (1995). Republic of Zambia. Formerly Northern Rhodesia. Literacy rate 25% to 76%; 40.5% (1977 C. M. Brann). Also includes Nyemba, Europeans 30,000, Asians 20,000 (including 12,000 Gujarati), refugees from Angola and Mozambique. Information mainly from Ohannessian and Kashoki 1978. Data accuracy estimate: A2, B. Christian, traditional religion. Blind population 38,000 (1982 WCE). Deaf institutions: 5. The number of languages listed for Zambia is 41. Of those, 39 are living languages and 2 are second languages with no mother tongue speakers.

AFRIKAANS [AFK] 6,365,000 or more in all countries. Also in South Africa (primarily), Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, Low, Dutch. Language of wider communication. Bible 1933-1983. NT 1941-1980. Bible portions 1893-1907.

AUSHI (AVAUSHI, VOUAOUSI, USHI, USI, UZHIL) [AUH] 90,204 in Zambia (1969 census). Northern, Luapula Province. Also in Zaïre. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Bemba (M.40). Language of wider communication. Typology: SVO. Survey needed.

BEMBA (CHIBEMBA, ICHIBEMBA, WEMBA, CHIWEMBA) [BEM] 2,000,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 25% of the population, including 741,114 Bemba, 32,022 Luunda, 5,190 Shila, 26,429 Tabwa, 16,833 Cishinga, 28,172 Kabende, 6,706 Mukulu, 42,298 Ng'umbo, 14,040 Twa-Unga (1969 census); 120,000 or more in Zaïre (1972); 28,600 in Tanzania (1987), 2,150,000 or more in all countries. Northern, Copperbelt and Luapula provinces. Also in Malawi. Possibly in Zimbabwe. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Bemba (M.40). Dialects: LEMBUE, LOMOTUA (LOMOTWA), NGOMA, NWESI, TOWN BEMBA, LUUNDA (LUAPULA), CHISHINGA, KABENDE, MUKULU, NG'UMBO, TWA OF BANGWEULU, UNGA. Town Bemba is a widely used lingua franca in urban, not rural, areas, and it has higher social status than other languages except English. Bemba is recognized for educational and administrative purposes. Language of wider communication. Typology: SVO. Traditional religion, Christian. Braille Bible portions. Bible 1956-1983. NT 1916-1934. Bible portions 1904-1948.

BWILE [BWC] 12,362 in Zambia (1969 census). Also in Zaire. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, L, Bwile (L.10). Not closely related to other languages. Survey needed.

CHOKWE (CIOKWE, COKWE, SHIOKO, TSHOKWE, TSCHIOKWE, DJOK) [CJK] 44,200 in Zambia, .65% of the population (1986); 500,000 in Zambia and Angola (1991 UBS); 504,000 in Zaïre (1991 UBS); 1,004,000 in all countries (1991 UBS). Northwestern Province, east of the Mbunda. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Chokwe-Luchazi (K.20). Dialect: MINUNGO. Bible 1970-1990. NT 1927-1958. Bible portions 1916-1964.

ENGLISH [ENG] 41,434 in Zambia (1969 census); 322,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, English. Spoken mainly as mother tongue by Europeans. A small minority of Zambian Africans speak it as a mother tongue. Used as a second language. The only language of Parliament. National language. Bible 1535-1989. NT 1525-1985. Bible portions 1530-1987.

FANAGOLO (FANAKALO, FANEKOLO, "KITCHEN KAFFIR", MINE KAFFIR, PIKI, ISIPIKI, "ISIKULA", LOLOLO, ISILOLOLO, PIDGIN BANTU, BASIC ZULU) [FAO] Several hundred speakers (1975 Reinecke). Also in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Katanga, Zaïre. Pidgin, Zulu based. Dialect: CIKABANGA. Used in towns and mining areas. Rejected by most Africans because it was imported from Zimbabwe and South Africa by Europeans who did not want Africans to learn English (Adler 1977). Influenced by Bemba in Zambia. Trade language. Second language only. No mother tongue speakers.

GUJARATI [GJR] 12,000 in Zambia (1985 IEM); 44,000,000 in all countries. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Gujarati. There are also a few Hindi and Urdu speakers in Zambia. Hindu. Bible 1823-1994. NT 1820-1985. Bible portions 1809-1965.

ILA (CHIILA, SHUKULUMBWE, SUKULUMBWE) [ILB] 61,200 or .9% of the population (1986). Central and Southern provinces, west of the Sala. With Tonga it predominates in the south. West bend of Kafue River. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Lenje-Tonga (M.60), Tonga. Dialects: LUNDWE, LUMBU, ILA. NT 1915-1945. Bible portions 1907-1937.

KAONDE (CHIKAONDE, CHIKAHONDE, KAWONDE, LUBA KAONDE) [KQN] 240,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 2.9% of the population (1986); 36,000 in Zaïre (1995 estimate); 276,000 in all countries. Northwest of Mumbwe, Northwestern and Central provinces. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, L, Kaonde (L.40). Literacy campaigns, agricultural extension services, officially taught in primary schools, used in newspapers, radio. Not closely related to other languages. Bible 1975. NT 1938-1962. Bible portions 1923-1962.

KUNDA (CHIKUNDA) [KDN] 100,000 in all countries (1971 Welmers); 3,258 in Mozambique (1980 census); 29,000 in Zimbabwe (1993). Southeastern Central Province. Also in Zimbabwe. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, N, Sena-Senga (N.40), Sena. Distinct from the Kunda dialect of Nyanja or Kunda of Zaïre. Work in progress.

LALA-BISA (BIZA-LALA) [LEB] 439,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 5.2% of the population (1986), including Lala 200,000 (1991 UBS); Ambo 1,273; Luano 3,718; Swaka 33,461; Bisa 82,761; Kunda 21,357 (1969 census). Eastern, along Luangwa River (Bisa), and southwest (Lala), Northern, Central, and Eastern provinces. Also in Zaïre. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Bisa-Lamba (M.50), Bisa. Dialects: AMBO, LUANO, SWAKA, BISA (ICHIBISA, BIISA, WISA, WIZA), LALA (ICHILALA). NT 1947-1977. Bible portions 1909-1995.

LAMBA (ICHILAMBA, CHILAMBA) [LAB] 211,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 2.5% of the population (1986), including 89,969 Lamba, 11,782 Lima (1969 census). Copperbelt, Central, and southeastern Northwestern provinces. Primarily Zambia, also in Zaïre. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Bisa-Lamba (M.50), Lamba. Dialects: LAMBA, LIMA. Distinct from Ilamba of Tanzania. Bible 1959. NT 1921-1938. Bible portions 1914-1950.

LENJE (CHILENJE, LENJI, LENGI, MUKUNI, CHINAMUKUNI, CIINA) [LEH] 169,000, 2% of the population (1993 Johnstone). Lukanga Swamp area, Central Province. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Lenje-Tonga (M.60), Lenje. Dialects: TWA (LUKANGA), LENJE. Bible portions 1927-1994. Work in progress.

LOZI (SILOZI, ROZI, TOZVI, ROTSE, RUTSE, KOLOLO) [LOZ] 473,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 5.6% of the population (1986); 70,000 in Zimbabwe (1982); 14,000 in Botswana (1993 Johnstone); 557,000 in all countries. Barotseland, Western Province and Southern Province near Livingstone. Also in Namibia. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Sotho-Tswana (S.30). Recognized for educational and administrative purposes. Bible 1951-1987. NT 1925-1939. Bible portions 1922-1957.

LUCHAZI (CHILUCHAZI, LUCAZI, LUJAZI, LUJASH, LUTSHASE, LUXAGE, PONDA) [LCH] 54,400 in Zambia, .8% of the population (1986); 240,000 in Angola (1993 Johnstone); 294,400 in all countries. West central Northwestern Province. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Chokwe-Luchazi (K.20). Bible 1963. NT 1935. Bible portions 1957.

LUNDA (CHILUNDA) [LVN] 220,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 2.6% of the population (1986); 90,000 in Angola (1993 Johnstone); 310,000 or more in all countries. Northwestern Province, Copperbelt. Also in Zaïre. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Salampasu-Ndembo (K.30). Dialects: KOSA (KOOSA), NDEMBU, HUMBU, KAWIKU. Literacy campaigns, agricultural extension services, newspapers, radio, officially taught in primary schools. Distinct from Luunda, a dialect of Bemba. Bible 1962. NT 1918-1929. Bible portions 1914-1946. Work in progress.

LUVALE (LUENA, LWENA, CHILUVALE, LOVALE, LUBALE) [LUE] 203,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 2.4% of the population (1986); 155,000 in Angola (1993 Johnstone); 358,000 in all countries; 1,000,000 including second language speakers. Northwestern and Western Provinces. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Chokwe-Luchazi (K.20). Recognized for educational and administrative purposes, newspapers, radio. A dominant regional language. Language of wider communication. Traditional religion, Christian. Bible 1955-1961. NT 1928-1945. Bible portions 1902-1951.

LUYANA (ESILUYANA, LOUYI, LUI, LUYI, ROUYI) [LAV] 74,800 in Zambia (1986), 1.1% of the population, including 12,114 Kwandi, 29,333 Kwanga, 2,692 Mbowe (1969 census); 25,500 in Angola; 100,000 in all countries. Eastern Lozi-Luyana area, Western Province. Also in Namibia and Botswana. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Kwangwa (K.40). Dialects: KWANDI, KWANGA, MBOWE (ESIMBOWE), MBUMI. Mbowe may be a separate language. Survey needed.

MAMBWE-LUNGU [MGR] 262,800 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 3.1% of the population (1986); 97,000 in Tanzania (1987); 359,000 in all countries. Northeastern Northern Province south of Lake Tanganyika. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, F, Tongwe (F.10). Dialects: MAMBWE (ICHIMAMBWE, KIMAMBWE), RUNGU (LUNGU, ICHIRUNGU, ADONG). There are minor dialect differences between Mambwe and Lungu. NT 1901-1991. Bible portions 1893-1924.

MASHI (MASI) [MHO] 20,795 in Zambia (1969 census). Southwestern Western Province. A few in Namibia. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Kwangwa (K.40). Dialects: NORTH KWANDU, SOUTH KWANDU, MASHI. Nomadic. Different from Mashi (Shi) which is related to Havu of Zaïre. Dialect cluster. Traditional religion. Survey needed.

MBOWE (ESIMBOWE) [MXO] 2,692 (1969 census). North central Western Province. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Kwangwa (K.40). Survey needed.

MBUKUSHU (MBUKUSHI, MAMBUKUSH, MAMPUKUSH, MBUKUHU, THIMBUKUSHU, GOVA, KUSSO) [MHW] 20,000 in all countries (1991 UBS); 12,000 in Botswana (1995 LBT; 6,000 in Angola (1972 Barrett). Southwestern corner of Western Province. Also a few in Namibia. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Kwangwa (K.40). Close to Kwangali and Mashi, but a separate language. Traditional religion, Christian. NT 1986. Bible portions 1976-1986.

MBUNDA (CHIMBUNDA, MBUUNDA, GIMBUNDA, KIMBUNDA) [MCK] 126,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 1.5% of the population (1986); 100,000 in Angola (1993 Johnstone); 226,000 in all countries. Northern Barotseland, western Northwestern Province. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Chokwe-Luchazi (K.20). Different from Mbunda (Mbuun, Mbunu) which is a dialect of Mpuono in Zaïre in the Yanzi group. NT 1983. Bible portions 1919-1995.

MWANGA (ICHINAMWANGA, NYAMWANGA, NAMWANGA, INAMWANGA) [MWN] 169,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 2% of the population, including 14,698 Iwa and 7,171 Tambo (1969 census); 87,000 in Tanzania (1987); 256,000 in all countries. Eastern Northern Province to Lake Rukwa. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Nyika-Safwa (M.20). Dialects: IWA, TAMBO (TEMBO). Dialects are inherently intelligible. Bible 1982. NT 1930-1941. Bible portions 1903-1953.

NKOYA (SHINKOYA) [NKA] 70,000 (1995 UBS). Mankoya area, Western and Southern provinces. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, L, Nkoya (L.50). Dialects: NKOYA, MBOWELA (MBWELA, MBWERA, SHIMBWERA), LUSHANGI, SHASHA, LUKOLWE, MASHASHA. Dialects are all inherently intelligible. NT 1936-1991. Bible portions 1929-1995.

NSENGA (CHINSENGA, SENGA) [NSE] 427,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone); 16,100 in Zimbabwe (1969 census); 141,000 in Mozambique (1993 Johnstone); 584,000 in all countries. Petauke District, Eastern and Central provinces. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, N, Senga-Sena (N.40), Senga. Dialects: NSENGA, NGONI (MPEZENI). Distinct from Senga dialect of Tumbuka of Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania. Christian, traditional religion. NT 1923. Bible portions 1919-1943.

NYANJA (CHINYANJA) [NYJ] 989,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 11.7% of the population (1986), including 196,640 Chewa, 256,588 Ngoni, 8,032 ChiKunda (1969 census); 251,800 in Zimbabwe (1969 census); 3,200,000 in Malawi (1993); 423,000 in Mozambique (1993 Johnstone); 5,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA) \M1 IBS. Eastern and Central provinces. Also in Tanzania. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, N, Nyanja (N.30). Dialects: CHICHEWA (CHEWA, CEWA), PETA (CIPETA, CHIPETA, MALAWI, MARAVI, MARAVE), CHINGONI (NGONI), MANGANJA (WAGANGA), NYASA, CHIKUNDA. The official language of the police and Zambia regiment. It is recognized for educational and administrative purposes. It is used in newspapers and radio. Chewa, Ngoni, and Kunda are completely intelligible with each other. The Kunda dialect is distinct from Kunda of Mozambique in the Senga-Sena group. Bible 1905-1973. NT 1886-1960. Bible portions 1884-1964.

NYIHA (ISHINYIHA, NYIKA, NYIXA) [NIH] 320,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone); 306,000 in Tanzania (1987); 626,000 in all countries. Northeastern Northern Province near the Malawi border, Isoka and Chama districts. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Nyika-Safwa (M.20). Dialect: WANDYA. May constitute one language with Ichilambya of Tanzania and Malawi. Different from Nyika (Nika, Giryama) of Kenya. NT 1913-1966. Bible portions 1904-1963.

SALA [SHQ] 20,400 or .3% of the population (1986). South central Central Province. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Lenje-Tonga (M.60), Tonga. Reported to be intelligible with Tonga and possibly Ila. Survey needed.

SETTLA (KISETTLA, KISETLA) [STA] Also in Kenya. Pidgin, Swahili based. A 'despised' pidgin (M. Adler 1977.50). Limited vocabulary and grammar. Second language only. No mother tongue speakers.

SHONA (CHISHONA) [SHD] 15,000 Goba in Zambia; also several thousand Shona in Mumbwa (1989); 759,923 in Mozambique (1989); 6,225,000 in Zimbabwe; 7,000,000 in all countries (1990 UBS). Mumbwa, Central Province. Goba dialect is near the Zimbabwe border. Also in Malawi. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, S, Shona (S.10). Dialect: KOREKORE (KORIKORI, MAKOREKORE, WAKORIKORI, NORTHERN SHONA, GOBA, GOVA, GOWA). Korekore is the main dialect in Zambia, with subdialect Goba. Bible 1949-1980. NT 1907, in press (1993). Bible portions 1897-1994.

SIMAA [SIE] 74,800 or 1.1% of the population (1986), including 8,000 in Makoma (1977 Voegelin and Voegelin). Western Lozi-Luyana area, Western Province. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Kwangwa (K.40). Dialects: SIMAA, MULONGA, IMILANGU, MWENYI, NYENGO, MAKOMA, LIYUWA. Survey needed.

SOLI (CHISOLI) [SBY] 54,400 or .8% of the population (1986). Central Province, east of Lusaka. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Lenje-Tonga (M.60), Tonga. A more distinct language or dialect of the Tonga group. Bible portions.

SUBIA (SUBIYA, SUPIA, ECHISUBIA, CHIIKUHANE) [SBS] 5,485 (1969 census); 12,000 in Botswana; 5,904 in Namibia (1960); 23,400 in all countries. Southeastern corner of Western Province. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Subia (K.50). Traditional religion, Christian. Survey needed.

TAABWA (RUNGU, ICHITAABWA, TABWA) [TAP] Northwestern Northern Province. Also in Zaïre. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Bemba (M.40). Dialect: SHILA.

TONGA (CHITONGA, ZAMBEZI, PLATEAU TONGA) [TOI] 990,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 11.7% of the population (1986); including 427,031 Tonga, 11,994 Toka, 7,874 Leya; 112,000 in Zimbabwe (1993 Johnstone); 3,000 to 6,000 in Botswana (1993 Johnstone); 1,105,000 in all countries. With Ila it predominates in the south, Southern and Western Provinces. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, M, Lenje-Tonga (M.60), Tonga. Dialects: CHITONGA, LEYA, TOKA (SOUTHERN TONGA), WE (VALLEY TONGA), SHANJO (SANJO), TWA OF KAFWE, MALA. Different from ChiTonga of Malawi, GiTonga of Mozambique, or Tsonga (Tonga) of Mozambique. Recognized for educational and administrative purposes. Used in newspapers and radio. Bible 1963, in press (1996). NT 1949-1989. Bible portions 1911-1957.

TOTELA (ECHITOTELA) [TTL] 14,000 (1971 Welmers). Southeastern Western Province, north of Subia; a few in Namibia. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, K, Subia (K.50). Survey needed.

TUMBUKA (TUMBOKA, CHITUMBUKA, TEW, TAMBUKA, TIMBUKA, TOMBUCAS) [TUW] 406,000 in Zambia (1993 Johnstone), 4.8% of the population (1986) including 33,666 Senga, 1,720 Yombe; 662,000 in Malawi (1993 Johnstone); 2,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Northeastern Eastern Province. Also in Tanzania. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, N, Tumbuka (N.20). Dialects: CHITUMBUKA, CHIKAMANGA (KAMANGA, HENGA), KANDAWIRE, CHIPOKA, YOMBE, SENGA, FUNGWE, WENYA, NENYA, NGONI (MAGODI), FILILWA (FILIRWA), HEWE (HEWA), NTHALI. Senga dialect is distinct from Nsenga of Petauke District. Bible 1957-1980. NT 1911. Bible portions 1904-1994.

YAUMA [YAX] Southwest corner, Kwando River area. Also in Angola. Unclassified. Bible portions 1978. Survey needed.

ZAMBIAN SIGN LANGUAGE [ZSL] Deaf sign language. Survey needed.


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