Chichewa Learning MaterialsChichewa is a Bantu language widely spoken in Malawi, while a very close dialect of Chichewa, called Chinyanja, is spoken in much of Zambia and parts of Mozambique. The following materials are available for downloading for the study of Chichewa. Note that many of these files are in PDF format, and require the Acrobat Reader to view and print.
Chichewa vocabulary list and sample sentences
The following materials were prepared by Andy Lyons during a 10-week introductory Chichewa class taught by Dr. Sam Mchombo. Please note some errors are known to exist in these notes.
(c) 1969 Likuni Press and Publishing House
P.O. Box 133, Lilongwe, Malawi.
Distributed for non-commercial purposes only
The following series of Chichewa lessons can be downloaded below either separately or in groups of five. If you have a good internet connection, you can also download the whole thing (4 Mb).
- Table of contents & pronunciation guide (114 Kb)
- 1. Present tense. Pronoun-prefixes. Six classes of nouns. (94 Kb)
- 2. Negative forn. Interrogations. Present continuous. (84 Kb)
- 3. Prepositions. Connections. "To have". (76 Kb)
- 4. Separate pronouns. Adverbs. Concordial prefixes. (102 Kb)
- 5. Concordial prefixes. (84 Kb)
- Lessons 1-5 combined (430 Kb)
- 6. "There is". (83 Kb)
- 7. Object-pronouns infixes. Habit -ma- infix. (80 Kb)
- 8. Subjunctive. Kuti. (91 Kb)
- 9. Past and Future: -na- and -dza- infixes. (83 Kb)
- 10. 'At what time?' Adverbs. (89 Kb)
- Lessons 6-10 combined (416 Kb)
- 11. Object-pronouns infixes. Relative -mene. (85 Kb)
- 12. Numbers (87 Kb)
- 13. Perfect tense (81 Kb)
- 14. Extra classes : Diminutive ka-; Infinitive ku-, pa ku mu (81 Kb)
- 15. Possession. Possessives. "Home" (78 Kb)
- Lessons 11-15 combined (403 Kb)
- 16. Formation of Adjectives. The week. (84 Kb)
- 17. "to be". -li and ndi. (85 Kb)
- 18. Special adjectives (83 Kb)
- 19. Verbal adjectives. Ordinals. (86 Kb)
- 20. Motion: -ka- and -dza- infixes (81 Kb)
- Lessons 16-20 combined (409 Kb)
- 21. Demonstratives uyu and uyo (82 Kb)
- 22. Contractions naye, nawo, nane. Reciprocity -na suffix. (90 Kb)
- 23. Demonstratives uno and uja (87 Kb)
- 24. Locatives "where?", "here", "there" (79 Kb)
- 25. Comparison (81 Kb)
- Lessons 21-25 combined (408 Kb)
- 26. Wina "another"; weniweni "real" (84 Kb)
- 27. Yense "each, all" (83 Kb)
- 28. Yekha "only" (82 Kb)
- 29. Amene relative. Ameneyu demonstrative (90 Kb)
- 30. Yemwe "the same", Yemweyu demonstrative (91 Kb)
- Lessons 26-30 combined (420 Kb)
- 31. Locatives (full list) (88 Kb)
- 32. Kutere and Kutero. Adverbs of manner. (83 Kb)
- 33. "Before" and "after", -sana- and -ta- infixes. (80 Kb)
- 34. Conditional -ka-, -kada- infixes. (87 Kb)
- 35. "May" and "can": -nga infix. "still" and "not yet" (87 Kb)
- Lessons 31-35 combined (414 Kb)
- 36. Other infixes: -dzi-, -nka-, -ba-, -zi-, -ma-, -ta-, orders (91 Kb)
- 37. -tsa suffice: causative, intensity (88 Kb)
- 38. -ra suffix: applied form (92 Kb)
- 39. -dwa suffix: passive, formation of nouns (86 Kb)
- 40. -ka suffix: potential, descriptive (82 Kb)
- Lessons 36-40 combined (429 Kb)
- 41. Other locatives: adverbs (87 Kb)
- 42. Ndi and si: contractions (82 Kb)
- 43. Kuti as a verb (85 Kb)
- 44. Kuti as a conjunction (83 Kb)
- 45. Enclitics and suffixes -nso, -be, -di, -tu, -no, -po, -ko, -mo (91 Kb)
- Lessons 41-45 combined (418 Kb)
- 46. Reduplications, interrogations (93 Kb)
- 47. Ideophones, -khala, inversions (95 Kb)
- Lessons 46-47 combined (185 Kb)
Manuals and Tapes Available from Michigan State University Center for African Studies
The following Chichewa language learning materials are available from MSU:
- Learning Chichewa: a Peace Corps language course. By Gregory John Orr and Carol Myers Scotton ; prepared by the African Studies Center, Michigan State University, 1980, Vols. 1 (Lessons 1-10) & II (Lessons 11-20)
- Learning Chichewa : teacher's manual. By Jan Behrs, Gregory John Orr and Carol Myers Scotton. Publisher East Lansing, Mich. : African Studies Center, Michigan State University, 1980, paper, 156 pp.
- In addition to the two paper volumes and teacher's manual, two accompanying language tapes are available.
The cost for each volume (Vol. I and Vol. II) is $35.00 each. The Teacher's manual is $13.00, and tapes are $7.50 each. Shipping and handling is $10.00. If you would like all the materials, please send a check or money order to Michigan State University for $108.00. If you only want certain items listed above, list the individual item that you would like, total the amount, and add $10.00 shipping/handling.
To confirm pricing and availability, please contact Lisa Fruge via firstname.lastname@example.org or on (517) 353-1700. Send your order to:
Attention: Lisa Fruge
African Studies Center Publications
Michigan State University
100 International Center
East Lansing, MI 48824-1035
Please feel free to phone if you have questions. Once we receive your check or money order, we will ship the books the same day.
- Chichewa background and history
- Digital Dialects Chichewa. Interactive games for learning the Chichewa language by Craig Gibson
- Bookstores in the UK which carry Chichewa instruction guides:
- List of Chichewa grammar guides from websters online.
- Friends of Malawi. A site for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Malawi. Includes a page of links on Malawian language.
- Michigan State African Studies Center. MSU developed a Chichewa grammar manual (the best one I've seen) for the US Peace Corps program in the late 1970s. It may be currently out of print, but contact them for details.
- The University of California at Berkeley library catalog, where you can do a keyword search on "Chichewa" to see a sample of other Chichewa materials. If you are associated with a university in N. America, you may be able to borrow these through inter-library loan.
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