Tumbuka language

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Tumbuka
chiTumbuka
Native to Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi
Native speakers
2.7 million, incl. Senga  (2006–2010)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-2 tum
ISO 639-3 tum
Glottolog tumb1250[2]
N.21[3]
Linguasphere 99-AUS-wc (+ chi-Kamanga) incl. varieties 99-AUS-wca...-wcl

The Tumbuka language is a Bantu language which is spoken in parts of Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania.

The language of the Tumbuka people is called chiTumbuka — the chi- marker in front of Tumbuka means “thing”, “concept”, and is understood in this case “the language of (the Tumbuka people)”. This marker is similar to shi- in shimaore, se- (si- in some parts of this language area) in seTswana / siTswana or ki- in kiSwahili, and iki- (or ki-) in Ikinyarwanda / Kinyarwanda, among several examples.

The World Almanac (1998) estimates approximately 2,000,000 Tumbuka speakers exist in the aforementioned three countries.

There are substantial differences between the form of Tumbuka spoken in urban areas (which borrows some words from Swahili and Chewa and the "village" or "deep" Tumbuka spoken in villages. The [kyela [Rumphi]] variant is often regarded as the most "linguistically pure", and is sometimes called "real Tumbuka". The Mzimba dialect has been strongly influenced by Zulu (chiNgoni), even so far as to have clicks in words like chitha [ʇʰitʰa] "urinate", which do not occur in other dialects. Senga "dialect" is not actually Tumbuka at all, but a Sabi language more closely related to Bemba.

Linguistic descriptions[edit]

Some remarks on Tumbuka as well as the related Tonga language can be found in W.M.Turner, Tumbuka–Tonga–English Dictionary The Hetherwick Press, Blantyre (now Malawi) MCMLII. Unlike most Bantu languages, Tumbuka does not have tone.

Some vocabulary[edit]

  • bingu = cloud
  • bondo = spoor, hoofmarks of game
  • chaka = year, annual sports day - plural: *vyaka
  • charu = country, land
  • chigwere = hippo
  • dongo = earth, soil, mud, clay
  • finyi (adjective) = narrow
  • jambuloko = a ford, a wading-across place
  • kaya = village
  • khutu = ear
  • kubwaranthika = to leap
  • woko = hand, arm
  • lizgu = word, voice
  • lukutu = pen, fold, roofed kraal for livestock - plural: * malukutu

Helpful phrases[edit]

  • Enya = Yes
  • Yayi = No
  • Yebo = Thank you
  • Taonga = We are thankful
  • nkumba chakurya! = I want some food !
  • munga nipako chakurya? = could you give me some food?
  • Ine nkhuyowoya chiTumbuka yayi! = I do not speak chiTumbuka!
  • Yendani makola. = Travel well.
  • Nkhukumba maji yakumya. = I would like water to drink.

Greetings[edit]

  • Mwawuka uli ? = Good morning. (How did you wake up?)
  • Tawuka makola. Kwali imwe? = Fine. And you? (I woke up well. I don't know about you?)
  • Tawuka makola = I am fine. (I woke up well.)
  • Muli uli ? = How are you?
  • Nili makola, kwali imwe? = I am fine, how are you?
  • Mwatandala uli? = Good afternoon. (How did you spend the day?)
  • Natandala makola. Kwali imwe? = Good afternoon. How are you? (I spent the day well. I don't know about you?)
  • Monile. = somewhat more formal than "Hi." Perhaps best translated as "Greetings."
  • Tiwanganenge = We shall meet again.

People[edit]

  • Ba nyamata = boys
  • mu nyamata = boy
  • Ba sungwana = girls
  • mu sungwana = girl
  • ba mwali = young ladies
  • ba nchebere = a woman with babies
  • ba mama = mother
  • ba dada = dad
  • ba gogo = grandmother
  • ba buya = grandmother, also used when addressing old female persons
  • ba sekulu = grandfather
  • ba nkazi = paternal aunty
  • ba mama ba choko / kulu = maternal aunty usually your mother's younger/older sister
  • ba sibweni = maternal uncle
  • ba dada ba choko/kulu = paternal uncle usually your father's younger/older brother
  • mu dumbu wane = my brother/ sister ( for addressing sibling of the opposite sex )
  • mu choko wane/mu zuna wane = my brother/ sister ( for addressing sibling of the same sex)

Verbs[edit]

  • Kusebela = to play
  • Kuseka = to laugh
  • Kurya = to eat
  • Kugona = to sleep
  • Kwenda = to walk
  • Kuchimbila = to run
  • Kulemba = to write
  • Kuchapa = to do laundry
  • Kugeza = to bath
  • Kupika = to cook
  • Kulima = to dig / cultivate
  • Kupanda = to plant
  • Kuvina = to dance
  • Kwimba = to sing

Animals[edit]

  • Fulu = Tortoise
  • Kalulu = Hare
  • Chimbwi = hyena
  • njoka = Snake
  • nkhumba = pig
  • n'gombe = cow
  • nchebe = dog
  • chona/pusi = cat
  • mbelele = sheep
  • nkalamu = lion
  • mbuzi = goat

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tumbuka at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tumbuka". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online

External links[edit]