Mbugwe is isolated from other Bantu languages, being bordered by the locally dominant Cushitic language Iraqw to the west, the Gorowa language (or dialect of Iraqw) to the south, the Nilotic Maasai language to the east, and the lake to the north. It shares about 70% vocabulary with its Bantu cousin Rangi.
The syntax is head-initial with adjectives and other modifiers appearing after the noun. Demonstratives may sometimes appear before the head noun.
Mbugwe is considered to be a seven-vowel language. It is a tonal language with two levels of tone identified - High and Low. Tone is distinctive lexically as well as grammatically.
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