Some Random Thoughts on Chichewa

Nov 17

What kind of language is Chichewa?

Well, an introductory paragraph for a very early book written by one of the missionaries springs to mind. He describes it as something like an elegant and subtle language. Another aspect I discussed recently with one of our language students was how it is like a set of codes that you put together in a logical manner. The root verbs, prefixes, infixes and suffixes are like different parts of a computer programme that each carry out different commands (have different meanings) and then once you know them you can them together to bring about various meanings. In other words with regards to verbs you put together the different components to make one word in the way you put together words in a sentence in English. In other words a word can carry the meaning of a whole sentence or a significant part of a sentence.

The grammar surrounding nouns (noun classes), is difficult. As one expat who speaks the language pointed out – you don’t...

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