Kwangali language

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Native toNamibia, Angola
RegionKavango River
Native speakers
152,000 (2018)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3kwn

Kwangali, or RuKwangali, is a Bantu language spoken by 85,000 people along the Kavango River in Namibia, where it is a national language, and in Angola. It is one of several Bantu languages of the Kavango which have click consonants; these are the dental clicks c and gc, along with prenasalization and aspiration.

Maho (2009) includes Mbunza as a dialect, but excludes Sambyu, which he includes in Manyo.



Bilabial Labio-
Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
prenasal vl. ᵐpʰ ⁿtʰ ᵑkʰ
prenasal vd. ᵐb ⁿd ⁿdʒ ᵑɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ h
voiced β v z
prenasal vl. ᶬf ⁿs
prenasal vd. ᶬv ⁿz
Nasal m n ɲ
Trill r
Lateral l
Approximant j w

A dental click type [ǀ] may also be heard,[how many consonants is this?] being adopted from the neighboring Khoisan languages. The clicks may also tend to be heard as alveolar [!].[3]


Front Central Back
High i iː u uː
Mid e eː o oː
Low a aː

Short vowels of /i e o u/ may also be pronounced as [ɪ ɛ ɔ ʊ].[4]


  1. ^ "Kwangali". Ethnologue. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ Dammann (1957)
  4. ^ Sommer, Gabi (2003). Western Savanna. Nurse, Derek and Philippson, Gérard (eds.), The Bantu languages: London & New York: Routledge. pp. 566–580.
  • Dammann, Ernst (1957). Studien zum Kwangali: Grammatik, Texte, Glossar. Hamburg: Cram, de Gruyter
  • Derek Nurse & Gérard Philippson, The Bantu languages, 2003:569.