Manyika dialect

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Native to Zimbabwe, Mozambique
Native speakers
1.3 million  (2000–2006)[1]
Tewe (Chiute)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
mxc – Manyika
twx – Tewe
Linguasphere 99-AUT-ad (north chiManyika incl. varieties -ada to -adk)+ 99-AUT-ae (central chi-Manyika incl. -aea to -aeg)

The Manyika language is a dialect of the Shona language. Largely spoken by the Manyika people in the eastern part of Zimbabwe and across the border in Mozambique. It includes dialects ChiBocha, ChiNdau, ChiUngwe, and ChiManyika, from which the broad Manyika language gets its name.

This ChiManyika spoken by people in the northern parts of Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe, (Nyanga, Honde Valley Mutasa area) whilst ChiBocha is spoken by people in the southern part of Manicaland. Manyika differs from the more predominant Zezuru dialect in a variety of small ways.


Certain variations in vocabulary and word prefixes exist. For example the prefix 'va-' (used in Shona before male names to signify seniority and respect) is instead 'sa-' in the Manyika language. Also the prefix 'va-' used as in people for example vanhu vakaenda vakawanda is replaced by 'wa-' to become wanhu wakaenda wakawanda. This then presents a problem as the Manyika's are unable to use the 'va' in any form as they pronounce it as 'wa'. This being how the majority of them are recognised as being Manyika.

The verbs in this language are tonally divided into two groups. The tonal figures of the verbs belonging to one group are as shown below in the case of the infinitive, which has ku- as its prefix. kupá 'to give', kubátá 'to catch', kupómérá 'to scold', kukúrúdzíra 'to encourage'; kumúpá 'to give him (something)', kumúbátá 'to catch him', kumúpómérá, kumúkúrúdzíra; kuzvípa 'to give (something to) oneself', kuzvíbatá 'to catch oneself', kuzvípomerá, kuzvíkurudzirá. The tonal structure can be represented by: kuCV^^’CV^^’CV^^’X, kuÓCV^^’CV^^’CV^^’X, kuŔXCá, where X stands for a string of phonemes of any length, O for an object prefix, and R for a reflexive prefix, with an adjustment rule to the first two formulae that: if X=Ø, the last CV^^’ can be Ø, and if both are Ø, the second CV^^’ can also be Ø, and with one to the last that: if X=Ø, Cá becomes Ca.

The tonal figures of the verbs belonging to the other group are as shown below. kubwa 'to leave', kumutsa 'to wake up', kutarisa 'to look at', kuswatanudza 'to make (somebody) stand up'; kumúmútsa, kumútárisa, kumúswátanudza; kuzvímutsá, kuzvítarisá, kuzvíswatanudzá. The tonal representation should be: kuX, kuÓCV^^’X, kuŔXCá. This language has many indicative forms (such as Remote Past, Recent Past, Past Progressive, Present, etc.) including negative ones.


  1. ^ Manyika at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Tewe at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online