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About Shona Language

The Shona language belongs to the Bantu language group. The Bantu language group is spoken in most of Africa south of the equator and is made up of languages that form part of the Niger-Congo language family that stretches from the West of Africa in the Senegal Valley to the Kenyan coast and south to Namibia and the eastern Cape in Southern Africa. These languages are all remarkably similar in grammatical structure and vocabulary and are believed to have stemmed from a common region within the last three to four thousand years.

Shona or ChiShona is native to 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s population of about twelve million people. The language is fairly uniform through out the country and local dialects are mutually are mutually intelligible. The Shona ethnic identity is provided from the local dialects, namely Karanga, Zezuru, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore.

The written form of the Shona language dates back to the 1830s when the missionaries visiting Zimbabwe decided to put the oral form of the language to written form. The initial aim was motivated by the need to translate the bible into local languages.

The term Shona emanated around 1930 when a government phonetician recommended that all the local dialects should be
unified into a single language.

The majority of the population is bilingual in Shona or Ndebele and English.
Ndebele is also a Bantu language and is spoken by about 20 percent of the population, mostly in the western and south western parts of Zimbabwe. The government also officially recognizes five minority languages: Shangana, Venda, Nambya, Tonga and Kalanga.

English is the official language used in education, education, administration, justice, trade and commerce..

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