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Ndonga dialect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Ndonga language)
Native toNamibia and southern Angola
Native speakers
810,000 (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-1ng
ISO 639-2ndo
ISO 639-3ndo

Ndonga, also called Oshindonga, is a Bantu dialect spoken in Namibia and 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 810,000 speakers, the language has the largest number of speakers in Namibia.

Martti Rautanen translated the Bible into the Ndonga dialect. Beginning his work in 1885, he published the New Testament in 1903, but it took until 1920 to finish the Old Testament. His Bible translation became the basis of a standardized form of Ndonga.[3]





Oshindonga uses a five-vowel system:

Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a



Oshindonga contains the following consonant phonemes:

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal voiceless ŋ̊
voiced m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d g
affricate ts
Fricative voiceless f θ s ʃ x h
voiced v ð z ʒ ɣ
Approximant central w j
lateral l

Prenasalized sounds are listed below:

  • [m̥p]
  • [mb]
  • [ɱv]
  • [n̥θ]
  • [nð]
  • [n̥ʃ]
  • [n̥t]
  • [nd]
  • [nz]
  • [n̥ts]
  • [ŋk]
  • [ŋɡ]

Oshindonga also contains many other consonant compounds, listed below:

  • [m̥pʰ]
  • [n̥tʰ]
  • [n̥kʰ]
  • [m̥pʰw]
  • [n̥tʰw]
  • [n̥kʰw]
  • [n̥dz]
  • [n̥tsʰ]
  • [ndʒ]
  • [xw]
  • [tsʼ] (voiceless, ejective, alveolar affricate)
  • [psʲ] (voiceless, palatalized, labio-alveolar affricate)


  1. ^ Ndonga at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ "Namiweb.com". Namibweb.com. Archived from the original on 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  • Fivaz, Derek (2003). A Reference Grammar of Oshindonga (2 ed.). Windhoek: Out of Africa Publishers.