The Shona language, also known as chiShona, is one of the most widely used languages in Zimbabwe. Nearly 80% of the population of this country speaks the Shona language. The language is also used in such countries as Botswana, Mozambique, and nearly all countries nearby Zimbabwe.
There are three official languages in Zimbabwe. The are Shona, English, and Ndebele. Although Shona is taught in Zimbabwe schools, English is considered to be the primary language. Nevertheless, the Shona language is also used in many of Zimbabwe newspapers, as well as it is widely used on the radio.
There are three main dialects of the Shona language with differences in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Nevertheless, all dialects of the Shona language are considered to be partially intelligible. The main three dialects include Karanga (also known as Chikakaranga), Zezuru (also known as Chizezuru, Bazezuru, Bazuzura, Mazizuru, Vazezuru, and Wazezuru), Korekore (also known as Northern Shona, Goba, Gova, Shangwe) and Hwesa.
The modern Shona language is based on the two dialects: the Karanga dialect of Masvingo Province and the Zezuru dialect of central and northern Zimbabwe. The other dialects are considered to be minor. Nevertheless, when it comes to the Korekore dialect, one of the minor Shona dialects, it is worth to mention that it has one of the richest vocabularies among all Shona dialects and contains many words that are nonexistent in the major dialects.
Written Shona is evolving from day to day. It is worth to mention that the language is influenced by such languages as English, Afrikaans, and Portuguese, so it is no longer considered to be a pure language used by the previous generations.
When it comes to the spoken Shona, the tone is very important. With the help of the tone, you can differentiate between identical words and mark grammatical functions.
The written Shona is based on the Latin script adopted in 1967. It contains 35 symbols. It is worth to mention that there are no symbols for the sounds /l/ and /x/, breathy /g/ and /r/ used in some dialects.