|Native speakers||2.4 million (2000–2006)|
Ndau (also called chiNdau, Chindau, Ndzawu, Njao, Sofala, Southeast Shona, Chidanda) is one of the Shona dialects. It is spoken by people from the region of Chipinge (Zimbabwe). Some of its vocabulary is very similar to that of Ndebele and often this dialect can sound very different from that of basic Shona.
The ndau language as a member of the shona group of languages shows some similarities with other shona languages being more similar to eastern shona languages. It is partially intelligible with standard shona although speakers of other shona languages may find it difficult to understand. Reading the Ndau phrase below (Lord's Prayer), differences from the Shona language are relatively minor, but certainly present:
Baba edu ari mudenga, ngariremeredzwe zina renyu. UMambo hwenyu ngahuuye. Kuda kwenyu ngakuitwa munyika kudai ngomudenga. Tipei ngeiri zuva kurya kwedu kunotamika nyamashi. Tirekererei ndaa dzedu kudai tisu takarekerera avo vane ndaa kwetiri. Usatipinza mukuedzwa, asi tinunure kuno uwo wakashata.
The equivalent paragraph in 'Standard Shona' is:
Baba vedu vari kudenga, zita renyu ngarikudziwe. UMambo hwenyu ngahwuuye. Kuda kwenyu ngakuitwe pasi sokudenga. Tipei nhasi kudya kwedu kwakwezuva. Tiregererei zvatinokutadzirai sekuregerera kwatinoita vakatitadzira. Musatipinze mukuedzwa, asi mutinunure mune zvakaipa.
While the mainstream Shona language excludes L, Q and X from its alphabet, it is not the same with the Ndau language as shown by the examples below:
- Mainstream Shona "Akatizira and the Ndau version Akafohla: 'L' is used in the digraph hl for the sound [ɬ].
- Mainstream Shona "kuridza tsamwa and the Ndau version kuxapa: 'X' is used for the click consonant [ǁ].
- Mainstream Shona "Kurara and the Ndau version Kuqambaya: 'Q' is used for the click consonant [ǃ].
These sounds have been acquired from neighboring Nguni languages.
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