Learn Chitumbuka

Chitumbuka is a Bantu language spoken in Northern Malawi. Although widely spoken throughout the north, it is not an official language of Malawi and few resources exist online for foreigners interested in learning. I found this frustrating when I was first trying to learn Chitumbuka, and have endeavoured to fill some of this gap with my own humble contribution of language resources.

I cannot speak Chitumbuka fluently. I stitch together what – I’m sure – are grammatically atrocious sentences on a daily basis. But, thanks to the endless patience and good humour of Malawians, what I have learned has allowed me to converse freely and has led to some of the greatest learning experiences of my life. My hope this that these few resources will go a long way in getting you started before you arrive, and help you open a multitude of new connections with this amazing culture.

Special thanks is owed to Alex Mwakikunga, Felix Kafwala, Gertrude Nyagama, Jim McGill, and the countless other villagers and members of my community who assisted with editing and my understanding of this language. Any feedback, corrections, or comments on usefulness would be greatly appreciated.


Malawi Greetings: A compilation of greetings for some of the major languages spoken in Malawi.

Demystifying Chitumbuka: Volume 1 of a guide to the grammatical structure of the language.

Chitumbuka Vocabulary: A big pile of words to get you started.

For those looking to learn Chichewa, a great site for that can be found here.



  1. Hey neighbor ! Welcome to Mzuzu !

    Those are amazing resources !!! Found your blog googling chitumbuka, and then realized that the “Duncan” here was actually the Duncan I met before ! Ahahah ! Pog and I are starting to learn Chitumbuka, and this will definitely help. I want grammatical structure volume 2 😉 !

    Taonga chomene !!

  2. […] and Blantyre) and a copy of the Chichewa-English/English-Chichewa dictionary. There is less on Chitumbuka and Chiyao and the other languages spoken in […]

  3. Chitumbuka has over the past years changed from its original version because of socialisation.BUT namuwongani chomene.

  4. Tiwonga chomeni!!! Stumbled on this and cannot thank you enough. I’ve been working up in Embangweni at a deaf school since 1997 and never got much beyond “hello” because all the folks are so very kind to use English around me. Now it is study time!

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