Nyamwezi

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A language of Tanzania

Alternate Names
Kinyamwesi, Kinyamwezi, Namwezi, Nyamwesi
Population

980,000 (2006). 73% are in the traditional area.

Location

Northwest central, Tabora Region, between Lake Victoria and Lake Rukwa; Rukwa, Singida, and Shinyanga regions.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).

Dialects

Mweri (Kiya, Konongo, Sumbwa), Nyanyembe, Takama (Garaganza). Lexical similarity: 84% with Sukuma [suk], 61% with Sumbwa [suw], 56% with Nilamba [nim]. Dialect Continuum with Sukuma.

Language Use

Vigorous in some areas. Swahili [swh] used increasingly in other areas. Positive attitudes. Also use Swahili [swh].

Language Development
Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1909–1951.
Writing
Latin script.
Other Comments

Smaller groups (Konongo, Galla, Sumbwa) were part of Unyamwezi Kingdom and are still often considered part of the Nyamwezi people group by the Nyamwezi. Christian, traditional religion, Muslim.