Shona

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A language of Zimbabwe

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

8,960,000 in Zimbabwe, all users. L1 users: 7,160,000 (2012). L2 users: 1,800,000 (Chebanne and Nthapelelang 2000). Total users in all countries: 9,023,100 (as L1: 7,223,100; as L2: 1,800,000).

Location

Widespread. Mashonaland Central province.

Language Maps
Language Status

3 (Wider communication). Recognized language (2013, Constitution, Article 6(1)).

Dialects

Karanga (Chikaranga), Zezuru (Bazezuru, Bazuzura, Chizezuru, Harava, Hera, Mazizuru, Shawasha, Vazezuru, Wazezuru), Korekore (Goba, Gova, Northern Shona, Shangwe), Hwesa. 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 of Shona.

Typology

SVO; noun head initial; 13 noun classes; no articles; verb affixes mark person, number, object; passives; causatives; 31 consonants, 5 vowels, 2 diphthongs; tonal (2 tones: high, low).

Language Use

Dominant African language understood by a considerable number. 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]. Used as L2 by Kalanga [kck], Nambya [nmq], Zimbabwe Sign Language [zib].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 86% in English [eng] and Shona [sna]. Taught in primary schools. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1949–1980.
Writing

Braille script [Brai]. Latin script [Latn], primary usage.

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Christian.

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