Lambya language

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Native to Tanzania, Malawi
Ethnicity Lambya
Native speakers
(40,000 in Tanzania cited 1987)[1]
60,000 in Malawi (2012)
2,000 in Zambia (1958)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lai
Glottolog lamb1272[2]

Lambya (Rambia) is a Bantu language of Tanzania and Malawi. In Northern Malawi it is spoken particularly in the Chitipa District.[4]

Sukwa, once thought to be a dialect of Nyakyusa, is now considered to be a dialect of Lambya.[5] The University of Malawi Language Mapping Survey for Northern Malawi (2006), agreeing with this, found that the three languages Cilambya, Cindali, and Cisukwa form a single dialect group, although there are differences between them, especially between Cilambya and the other two. For example:

  • Person = umunthu, umundu, umundu
  • Grasshopper = imphanzi, imbashi, imbasi
  • Scorpion = kalizga, kalisha, kalisya
  • Maize = ivilombe, ifilombe, ifilombe

The Language Mapping Survey gives further vocabulary and also a short text (the Tortoise and the Hare) in all three dialects.[4]


  1. ^ Lambya at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Lambya". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ a b University of Malawi Language Mapping Survey for Northern Malawi (2006) (see External links).
  5. ^ Nurse, Derek (1988) "The Diachronic Background to the Language Communities of South Western Tanzania" in Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika vol 9, 15-115.

External links[edit]