Sena language

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Native toMozambique, Malawi
Native speakers
1.6 million (2001–2006)[1]
  • Rue (Barwe)
  • Podzo
Official status
Official language in
Zimbabwe (as 'Chibarwe')
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
seh – Mozambiquean Sena
swk – Malawian Sena
bwg – Barwe
Glottolognucl1396  Nuclear Sena
mala1475  Malawi Sena
barw1243  Barwe
N.44,441 (N.45,46)[2]
Linguasphere99-AUS-xi incl. varieties 99-AUS-xia...-xic; also 99-AUS-xj (chi-Rue) & 99-AUS-xm (chi-Podzo)
A speaker of Barwe, a dialect of the Sena language. Portuguese is also spoken in this video.

Sena is a Bantu language spoken in the four provinces of central Mozambique (Zambezi valley): Tete, Sofala, Zambezia and Manica. There were an estimated 900,000 native Sena speakers in Mozambique in 1997, with at least 1.5 million if including those who speak it as a second language. It is one of the Nyasa languages.

Sena is spoken in several dialects, of which Rue (also called Barwe or Cibalke) and Podzo are divergent. The Sena of Malawi may be a distinct language. Barwe (Chibarwe) has official recognition in Zimbabwe.

Some remarks on Sena tenses can be found in Funnell (2004),[3] Barnes & Funnell (2005)[4] and in Kiso (2012).[5]


  1. ^ Mozambiquean Sena at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Malawian Sena at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Barwe at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ Funnell, Barry J. (2004)."A Contrastive Analysis of Two Varieties of Sena". MA dissertation, University of South Africa; (Introduction)
  4. ^ Barnes, Lawrie; Funnell, Barry (2005) "Exploring the cross-border standardisation of Chisena". Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa. Vol. 36.
  5. ^ Kiso, Andrea (2012), "Tense and Aspect in Chichewa, Citumbuka, and Cisena". Ph.D. Thesis. Stockholm University.