L1 users: 6,500,000 (2009 UNSD). 4,250,000 Chewa, 1,490,000 Ngoni, 754,000 Nyanja (2009 UNSD). Total users in all countries: 9,689,700.
West central and southwest.
3 (Wider communication). De facto language of national identity.
Chewa (Cheva, Chichewa, Sheva), Ngoni, Manganja (Cimanganja, Waganga), Nyasa, Peta (Cipeta, Malawi, Marave, Maravi). Manganja is also a Chewa-influenced dialect of Sena [swk].
Traditional religion, Christian.