A language of Tanzania

Alternate Names
Ishimalilia, Kimalila, Malilia, Shimalilia

65,000 (2003 SIL).


Mbeya Region, 40 km southwest of Mbeya town. South of Safwa [sbk], north of Ndali [ndh], west of Nyakyusa [nyy], east of Nyiha [nih] language areas.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


SVO; prepositions; noun head initial; noun classes; verbal affixation for subject, object, tense, aspect, mood and derivation; 36 consonant phonemes; 14 vowel phonemes; tonal

Language Use

Vigorous. Other language speakers moving into the area learn Malila. Most domains including church and politics. All ages. Positive attitudes. Some also use some Swahili [swh], but proficiency is low compared to other area groups.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 0%. Literacy rate in L2: Low. SIL has transition literacy work (Swahili to Malila), and some pre-school basic literacy classes. Bible portions: 2010–2012.
Latin script.
Other Comments

Little intermarriage. Christian.