|Native to||Zimbabwe, Botswana|
|Native speakers||950,000 (2000–2004)|
kck – Kalanga
nmq – Nambya
|Kalanga language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
The Kalanga language, or Ikalanga, TjiKalanga, is a Bantu language spoken by the Kalanga people, 300,000 in Botswana and 700,000 in Zimbabwe (Ethnologue). It is known for its extensive phoneme inventory, which includes palatalized, velarized, aspirated, and breathy voiced consonants. It is closely related to Shona.
The Kalanga and the Shona migrated in separate groups from a common region in the north. The Kalanga speaking people are thought to have been the first. They first settled in South Africa. Ruins of their oldest settlement are called the Mapungubwe ruins. Their speech shows considerable differences from that of the Shona people.
The conclusion that Kalanga is a Shona dialect is one of the most erroneous conclusions that have ever been made in history. It will be understood that this is a battle that has been going on for over eighty years now. Way back in 1927 the Rhodesia Missionary Society wanted to create a standard Shona orthography, but they could not agree on Kalanga being listed as a Shona dialect. They enlisted the help of Professor Clement M. Doke, then a Bantu Studies professor at the University of the Witwatersrand. After a year long study in Zimbabwe, he actually concluded that Kalanga cannot be listed as a Shona dialect because it is too phonologically diverse from what can be called Shona. In fact, a simple test that this is true is this: those who speak the so-called Shona cannot understand the Kalanga when they speak, though the Kalanga can understand the Shona.
Kalanga has the following dialects: Kalanga proper, Nambya (Nanzwa), Lilima (Tjililima, Humbe), Nyai (Rozvi), Lemba (Remba), Lembethu (Rembethu), Twamamba (Xwamamba), Pfumbi, Jaunda (Jawunda, Jahunda), and the extinct †Romwe, †Peri, †Talahundra (Talaunda).
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