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Languages of Malawi
 
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bryan
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Languages of Malawi


English

     The heritage left by the country's colonial past, English is the official language of Malawi. This is the language of official events. English is taught in public schools in Malawi.


Chichewa

     Chichewa, also known as Chinyanja, Chewa or Nyanja, is the mother tongue of about half the population of Malawi and the country's second state language. Chichewa is the most common language spoken in Malawi mainly in the southern and central regions of the country. If English is the official language of Malawi, then Chichewa is the national language.


Yao

     Yao is a language spoken in the south-east of Malawi, in the Mangochi District, in an area near Lake Malawi. Yao is also known by several other names, including Jao, Ayo, Adso, Achawa, Djao, ChiYao, waJao, Hyao, but its most common and well-known name is Yao.


Chitumbuka

     Also known as Citumbuka or Tumbuka, is one of the local languages spoken in northern Malawi. Chitumbuka has lost the status of the official language of Malawi due to government efforts to eradicate multilingualism. The one nation, one language policy has been practiced in Malawi since 1968.


Other languages

     The aforementioned languages (English, Chichewa, Yao, and Chitumbuka) are most common, but they do not exhaust the Malawi language variety. There are about 17 living languages in Malawi. These are Malawian Lhomwe in the south, Nyakyusa-Ngonde and Tonga in the north, and Sena along the Shire River. There are also a small number of Malawians who speak Zulu and Afrikaans. The remaining languages spoken by very few are Lambya, Kacchi, Kokola, Ndali, Nkhonde and Nyika.

        
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