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Shona (chiShona)

Shona is a member of the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo language family. It is spoken by about nine million people mainly in Zimbabwe, where more than 80% of the population are Shona speakers. There are also speakers in Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana.

A standard written form of Shona was codified during the early 20th century and the first novel in Shona, Feso by Solomon Mutswairo, was published in 1957. Shona is taught in schools, though isn't used as a medium of instruction.

Shona is a tonal language with two tones: high and low. These are not indicated in writing.

Shona alphabet and pronunciation

Shona alphabet and pronunciation

Sample text in Shona

Vanhu vese vanoberekwa vakasununguka uyewo vakaenzana pahunhu nekodzero dzavo. Vanhu vese vanechipo chokufunga nekuziva chakaipa nechakanaka saka vanofanira kubatana nomweya wohusahwira.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample of spoken Shona

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