• Maxwell Kadenge


The main objective of this entry is to present the sociopolitical history of Nambya. The focus is on the geographical location, genetic affiliation, codification, political significance, social and cultural dimensions and the quality and quantity of literature on this language. Nambya is a cross-border southern Bantu language that belongs to the Shona group of languages and is spoken in some parts of Zimbabwe and Botswana. While it is an officially recognised language in Zimbabwe, it has no official status in Botswana. The ethnolinguistic vitality of Nambya is threatened by limited intergenerational transmission, small number of speakers, very few descriptive and theoretical studies and restricted usage in the home and cultural activities. The recently conferred official status in Zimbabwe is expected to improve the vitality of Nambya.


Nambya Official status Political history Minority language Vitality 


  1. Chabata, E. (2007). The Nambya verb with special emphasis on the causative. Unpublished doctoral thesis. Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo, Oslo.Google Scholar
  2. Doke, C. (1931). A comparative study of Shona phonetics. Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Fortune, G. (1967). Elements of Shona. Salisbury: Longmans of Rhodesia Pvt Limited.Google Scholar
  4. Guthrie, M. (1948). The classification of Bantu languages. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Hachipola, S. J. (1998). A survey of minority languages of Zimbabwe. Harare: University of Zimbabwe publications.Google Scholar
  6. Kadenge, M. (2008). The phonology of Nambya. Published doctoral thesis. Department of Linguistics, University of Zimbabwe, Harare.Google Scholar
  7. Kadenge, M. (2010). Some segmental processes involving vowels in Nambya: A preliminary descriptive investigation. The Journal of African Studies, 3(6), 239–252.Google Scholar
  8. Kadenge, M. (2013). Hiatus resolution in Nambya: An optimality theory analysis. Language Matters, 44(1), 94–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kadenge, M., & Mugari, V. (2015). The current politics of African languages in Zimbabwe. Per Linguam: A Journal for Language Learning, 31(2), 21–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kangira, J. (2001). Transitivity in Kalanga. Unpublished M.Phil thesis, University of Zimbabwe, Harare.Google Scholar
  11. Moreno, A. (1988). Nambya dictionary. Gweru: Mambo Press.Google Scholar
  12. Moreno, A. (2004). Nambya grammar. Hwange: Nambya Cultural Association.Google Scholar
  13. Mudzingwa, C., & Kadenge, M. (2011). Comparing hiatus resolution in Karanga and Nambya: An optimality theory analysis. Nordic Journal of African Cultural Studies, 20(3), 203–240.Google Scholar
  14. Wentzel, P. J. (1983). The relationship between Venda and Western Shona. Department of African languages and literature notes, University of South Africa, Pretoria.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maxwell Kadenge
    • 1
  1. 1.Linguistics DepartmentUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations