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
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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Information about Shona |
Shona phrases |
Tower of Babel in Shona
Information about the Shona language
Duramazwi RechiShona (The General Shona Dictionary)
Other languages written with the Latin alphabet