Shona

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A language of Zimbabwe

Alternate Names
Chishona, “Swina” (pej.), Zezuru
Population

10,700,000 in Zimbabwe. 4,500,000 Karanga (Chebanne and Nthapelelang 2000), 1,700,000 Korekore (Chebanne and Nthapelelang 2000), 3,200,000 Zezuru (Chebanne and Nthapelelang 2000), 1,300,000 Shona. Population total all countries: 10,759,200.

Location

Mashonaland, central, and widespread. Also in Botswana (Zezuru), Malawi, South Africa, Zambia.

Language Maps
Language Status

3 (Wider communication). De facto national working language.

Dialects

Karanga (Chikaranga), Korekore (Goba, Gova, Northern Shona, Shangwe), Zezuru (Bazezuru, Bazuzura, Chizezuru, Mazizuru, Vazezuru, Wazezuru). Subdialects: Karanga: Duma, Jena, Mhari (Mari), Ngova, Nyubi, Govera; Korekore: Budya, Gova, Tande, Tavara, Nyongwe, Pfunde, Shan Gwe; Zezuru: Shawasha, Gova, Mbire, Tsunga, Kachikwakwa, Harava, Nohwe, Njanja, Nobvu, Kwazwimba (Zimba); Shona: Toko, Hwesa. Rozvi (Rozwi, Ruzwi, Chirozwi) speak Karanga dialect. Ndau [ndc] and Manyika [mxc] are partially intelligible with Shona.

Typology

SVO

Language Use

Dominant African language understood by a considerable number. 1,800,000 speak Shona as L2 in all countries (Chebanne and Nthapelelang 2000). Primarily a written language apparently based on Karanga and Zezuru with lexical items also from Manyika and Korekore. Urban populations tend to speak school or standard Shona. Also use English [eng].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 86% in English and Shona. Taught in primary schools. New media. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1949–1980.
Writing
Braille script. Latin script, primary usage.
Other Comments

Traditional religion, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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