Ndonga dialect

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Native to Namibia and southern Angola
Region Ovamboland
Native speakers
810,000 (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 ng
ISO 639-2 ndo
ISO 639-3 ndo
Glottolog ndon1254[2]
Linguasphere 05-PEA-aa

Ndonga, also called Oshindonga, is a Bantu language spoken in Namibia and some parts of Angola. It is a standardized dialect of the Ovambo language, and is mutually intelligible with Kwanyama, the other Ovambo dialect with a standard written form. With 281,500 speakers, the language has the largest number of speakers in Namibia.

Martti Rautanen translated the Bible into the Ndonga standard.[4]



Oshinonga uses a five-vowel system:

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


Oshinonga contains the following consonant phonemes:

Labial Inter-
Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal voiceless ŋ̊
voiced m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d g
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x h
voiced v ð z ʒ ɣ
Approximant j w
Lateral l

Oshinonga also contains many consonant compounds, listed below:

  • m̥pʰ
  • n̥tʰ
  • n̥kʰ
  • m̥pʰw
  • n̥tʰw
  • n̥kʰw
  • n̥th
  • n̥dz
  • n̥tsʰ
  • xw
  • tsˈ (voiceless, ejective, alveolor affricate)
  • psʲˈ (voiceless, palatalized, labio-alveolar affricate)


  1. ^ Ndonga at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Ndonga". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ "Namiweb.com". Namibweb.com. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  • Fivaz, Derek (2003). A Reference Grammar of Oshindonga (2 ed.). Windhoek: Out of Africa Publishers. 

External links[edit]