Learn Survival Chewa (Nyanja)
Wikitravel phrasebooks are available in many languages and each one varies in depth and detail. Most of the phrasebooks include a pronunciation guide, a general phrase list, information about dates and numbers, a color list, transportation-related phrases, vocabulary for shopping and phrases for eating and drinking. Some are even more in depth, and all are free!
This Chewa phrasebook is not a language tutorial, comprehensive grammar or dictionary. Its goal is to define just enough of the language so that an English-speaking traveller can "get by" in areas where Chewa is spoken.
Chewa, also known as Nyanja, is a language of the Bantu language family. The gender prefix chi- is used for languages, so the language is also known as Chichewa and Chinyanja. Chewa is also known as Nyanja (chinyanja) spoken by over 15 million people in southern Africa. Chewa/Nyanja is an official language and common lingua franca in Malawi and Zambia, and is spoken by some in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa as well.
Chewa is the national language of Malawi. It is also one of the seven official African languages of Zambia, where it is spoken mostly in the Eastern Province and in Lusaka. It is also spoken in Mozambique, especially in the provinces of Tete and Niassa, as well as in Zimbabwe where, according to some estimates, it ranks as the third most widely used local language, after Shona and Northern Ndebele.
The name Nyanja actually means "lake", so chinyanja is the "language of the lake" — referring to the language of the Chewas and other tribes who have adopted their language. In Malawi, the official name is Chichewa, while Zambia and Mozambique call it Nyanja.