A language of Tanzania

Alternate Names

5,430,000 (2006), increasing.


Shinyanga and Mwanza regions; Kagera, Tabora, and Singida regions; some in Kigoma and Mara regions; between Lake Victoria and Lake Rukwa, to Serengeti plain, Kiya, Gwe; few in cities, 88% in the traditional area.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


Gwe (Kemunangweeli, Kigwe, West Sukuma), Kemunadakama (South Sukuma), Kemunasukuma (Kimuna-Sukuma, North Sukuma), Kiya (East Sukuma, Jinakiiya, Kemunakeeya, Kiiya, Kimunakiiya), Nasa (Kinaanasa), Nelaa (Kinaanelaa), Ntuzu (Gina-Ntuzu, Kimunantuzu), SumaaBu (KisumaaBu). Dialects contiguous with Nyamwezi and mutually intelligible along the border of the two people groups. Lexical similarity: 84% with Nyamwezi [nym], 59% with Sumbwa [suw] and Nyaturu [rim], 57% with Kimbu [kiv], 55% with Nilamba [nim], 49% with Langi [lag].

Language Use

Vigorous. Known for vigorous use of L1. All ages. Very positive attitudes. Also use Swahili [swh]. Used as L2 by Zinza [zin].

Language Development
Some literacy work. Poetry. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1960.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Christian, traditional religion.