Tonga language (Zambia and Zimbabwe)

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For other uses, see Tonga language.
Tonga
Zambezi
Chitonga
Native to Zambia, Zimbabwe
Ethnicity Tonga, Kafwe Twa?
Native speakers
1.1 million  (2001–2006)[1]
one of the key lingua franca in Zambia and parts of Zimbabwe and Mozambique)
Dialects
Plateau Tonga
Valley Tonga (We)
Leya
Mala
Ndawe
Dombe
Latin (Tonga alphabet)
Tonga Braille
Official status
Official language in
 Zimbabwe
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3 toiinclusive code
Individual code:
dov – Dombe
M.64[2]
Glottolog tong1318[3]

The Tonga language, Chitonga, of Zambia and Zimbabwe, also known as Zambezi, is a Bantu Language primarily spoken by the Tonga people in those countries who live mainly in the Southern and Western provinces of Zambia, and in northern Zimbabwe, with a few in Mozambique. The language is also spoken by the Iwe, Toka and Leya people, perhaps by the Kafwe Twa (if that is not Ila), as well as many bilingual Zambians and Zimbabweans. It is one of the major lingua francas in Zambia, together with Bemba, Lozi and Nyanja. The Tonga of Malawi is not particularly close.

The Tonga speaking inhabitants are the oldest Bantu settlers, with the Tumbuka, a small tribe in the east, in what is known as Zambia. There are two distinctive dialects of the Tonga, Valley Tonga and Plateau Tonga. Valley Tonga is mostly spoken in the Zambezi valley and southern areas of the Batonga (Tonga People) while Plateau Tonga is spoken more around Monze district and the northern areas of the Batonga.[4]

Tonga (Chitonga or iciTonga) developed as a spoken language and was not put into written form until missionaries arrived in the area. The language is not standardized, and speakers of the same dialect may have different spellings for the same words once put into written text.[5]

At least some speakers have a bilabial nasal click where neighboring dialects have /mw/, as in mwana 'child' and kumwa 'to drink'.[6]

Maho (2009) removes Shanjo as a separate, and not very closely related, language.

Language structure[edit]

Tonga follows the standard Bantu language structure. One word may consist of a verb, a direct object, a tense marker and even an indirect object.

Tense[7] Tense marker Example
Subject-(tense marker)-verb root-(ending) First person "ndi" doing something s/he shouldn't be doing "kuputa"
Present Simple -(verb root) Ndiputa
Present Perfect -a-(verb root)-ide Ndaputide
Present Continuous -la- Ndilaputa
Habitual Present Tense -la-(verb root)-a Ndilaputa
Recent Past (Past of Today) -ali-(verb root)-ide ndaliputide
Simple Past -aka- ndakaputa
Recent Past Continuous -ali-ku-(verb root) ndalikuputa
Habitual Past Continuous -akali-ku-(verb root) Ndakalikupua
Remote Past -aka- ndakaputa
Near Future -la- Ndilaputa
Simple Future -ya-ku-(verb root)-a Ndiyakuputa
Future Habitual -niku-(verb root)-a ndinikupua
Extended Future (Tomorrow or after tomorrow) -yaku-(verb)-a ndiyakuputa

Expressions[edit]

How are you? Mwapona

Good, Fine. kabotu

Thank You. Twalumba

Left. "Chimwenhi'

Right. "Lulyo"

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tonga at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Dombe at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tonga". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ A Practical Introduction to Chitonga, C.R. Hopgood, 1992 Edition, Zambia Educational Publishing House, p. x
  5. ^ Mweenzu Wafwulwe Ulalila Bowa (An Advanced Chitonga Language Course), R.N. Moonga and F.W. Wafer, Zambia Educational Publishing House, 1997, p. v
  6. ^ Norval Smith, Harry Van Der Hulst, 1988. Features, Segmental Structure & Harmony Processes, vol. 1 p. 198
  7. ^ Tenses taken from Peace Corps Zambia Trainee's Book: Tonga, 2003

External links[edit]