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Manyika dialect

2019-07-24 23:43:03
Native toZimbabwe, Mozambique
Native speakers
1.3 million (2000–2006)[1]
Language family
  • Atlantic–Congo
    • Benue–Congo
      • Southern
        • Bantu
          • Shona (S.10)
            • Manyika
  • Tewe (Chiute)
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
mxc – Manyika
twx – Tewe
Glottologmany1258  Manyika[2]
tewe1238  Tewe[3]
Guthrie code
Linguasphere99-AUT-ad (north chiManyika incl. varieties -ada to -adk)+ 99-AUT-ae (central chi-Manyika incl. -aea to -aeg)

Manyika is a Shona language largely spoken by the Manyika people in the eastern part of Zimbabwe and across the border in Mozambique. It includes dialects ChiBocha, ChiUngwe, and ChiManyika, from which the broad Manyika language gets its name.

ChiManyika is spoken by people in the northern parts of Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe, (Nyanga, Honde Valley Mutasa area) whilst ChiBocha is spoken by people in the southern part of Manicaland. Manyika differs from the more predominant Zezuru dialect in a variety of small ways.


Certain variations in vocabulary and word prefixes exist. For example, the prefix 'va-' (used in Shona before male names to signify seniority and respect) is replaced by 'sa-' in the Manyika language. Also the prefix 'va-' used as in people, for example standard Shona vanhu vakaenda vakawanda, is replaced by 'wa-' to become wanhu wakaenda wakawanda. As a result, the Manyika do not use the prefix 'va' in any form as they pronounce it as either 'sa' or 'wa'. This is how they are generally recognised as being Manyika.

The verbs in this language are tonally divided into two groups. The tonal patterns of the verbs belonging to one group are as shown below in the case of the infinitive, which has ku- as its prefix:

  • kupá 'to give', kubátá 'to catch', kupómérá 'to scold', kukúrúdzíra 'to encourage';
  • kumúpá 'to give him (something)', kumúbátá 'to catch him', kumúpómérá, kumúkúrúdzíra;
  • kuzvípa 'to give (something to) oneself', kuzvíbatá 'to catch oneself', kuzvípomerá, kuzvíkurudzirá.

These tonal patterns can be represented by kuCV’CV’CV’X, kuÓCV’CV’CV’X, kuŔXCá, where X stands for a string of phonemes of any length, O for an object prefix, and R for a reflexive prefix, with an adjustment rule to the first two formulae that if X=Ø, the last CV’ can be Ø, and if both are Ø, the second CV’ can also be Ø, and with one to the last formula that if X=Ø, Cá becomes Ca.

The tonal patterns of the verbs belonging to the other group are as shown below:

  • kubwa 'to leave', kumutsa 'to wake up', kutarisa 'to look at', kuswatanudza 'to make (somebody) stand up';
  • kumúmútsa, kumútárisa, kumúswátanudza;
  • kuzvímutsá, kuzvítarisá, kuzvíswatanudzá.

The tonal representation would be: kuX, kuÓCV’X, kuŔXCá.

This language has many indicative tenses (such as Remote Past, Recent Past, Past Progressive, Present, etc.) including negative ones.


  1. ^ Manyika at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Tewe at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Manyika". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tewe". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online

External links

  • Stevick, Earl W., M. Mataranyika & L. Mataranyika (1965) Shona Basic Course. Foreign Service Institute, Washington ("based on the speech of two individuals, representing Manyika varieties of Shona, but with certain systematic emendations in the direction of the more central dialects"). (Recordings of this course are also available on the Internet.)