Comorian language

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Native to Comoros and Mayotte
Region Throughout Comoros and Mayotte; also in Madagascar and Réunion
Native speakers
700,000 (1993–2004)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
zdj – Ngazidja dialect
wni – Ndzwani (Anjouani) dialect
swb – Maore Comorian
wlc – Mwali dialect
Glottolog como1260[2]

Comorian (Shikomori or Shimasiwa, the "language of islands") is the most widely used language on the Comoros (independent islands in the Indian Ocean, off Mozambique and Madagascar) and Mayotte.[4] It is a set of Sabaki dialects but with less Arabic influence than standard Swahili. Each island has a different dialect and the four are conventionally divided into two groups: the eastern group is composed of Shindzuani (spoken on Ndzuwani) and Shimaore (Mayotte), while the western group is composed of Shimwali (Mwali) and Shingazija (Ngazidja).

No official alphabet existed in 1992,[clarification needed] but historically the language was written in the Arabic script. The colonial administration introduced the Latin script, of which a modified version is now being promoted in the country; the Arabic script remains widely used and literacy in the Arabic script is higher than in the Latin script.

It is the language of Udzima wa ya Masiwa, the national anthem.


  1. ^ Ngazidja dialect at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Ndzwani (Anjouani) dialect at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Maore Comorian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Mwali dialect at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Comorian Bantu". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ Comoros

Further reading[edit]

  • Ahmed-Chamanga, Mohamed. (1992) Lexique Comorien (shindzuani) – Français. Paris: L'Harmattan.
  • Ahmed-Chamanga, Mohamed. (1997) Dictionnaire français-comorien (dialecte Shindzuani). Paris: L'Harmattan.
  • Ahmed-Chamanga, Mohamed. (2010) Introduction à la grammaire structurale du comorien. Moroni: Komedit. 2 vols.
  • Mohamed Ahmed-Chamanga
  • Johansen, Aimee. A History of Comorian Linguistics. in John M. Mugane (ed.), Linguistic Typology and Representation of African Languages. Africa World Press. Trenton, New Jersey.

External links[edit]