Native toMalawi, Tanzania, Zambia
Native speakers
2.3 million (2020)[1]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2tum
ISO 639-3tum
Linguasphere99-AUS-wc (+ chi-Kamanga) incl. varieties 99-AUS-wca...-wcl

The Tumbuka language is a Bantu language which is spoken in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania.[3] It is also known by the autonym Chitumbuka also spelled Citumbuka — the chi- prefix in front of Tumbuka means "in the manner of", and is understood in this case to mean "the language of the Tumbuka people". Tumbuka belongs to the same language group (Guthrie Zone N) as Chewa and Sena.[4]

The World Almanac (1998) estimated that there were approximately 2,080,000 Tumbuka speakers in 1998, though other sources estimated a much smaller number. The majority of Tumbuka speakers are said to live in Malawi.[3] Tumbuka is the most widely spoken of the languages of Northern Malawi, especially in the Rumphi, Mzuzu, Mzimba and Karonga districts.[5]

There are substantial differences between the form of Tumbuka spoken in urban areas of Malawi (which borrows some words from Swahili and Chewa) and the "village" or "deep" Tumbuka spoken in villages. The Rumphi variant is often regarded as the most "linguistically pure", and is sometimes called "real Tumbuka".[6] The Mzimba dialect has been strongly influenced by Zulu (chiNgoni),[7] even so far as to have clicks in words like chitha [ʇʰitʰa] "urinate", which do not occur in other dialects.

Throughout the history of Malawi, only Tumbuka and Chewa have at one time or another been the primary dominant language used by government officials. However, the Tumbuka language suffered a lot during the rule of President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, since in 1968 as a result of his one-nation, one-language policy it lost its status as an official language in Malawi. As a result, Tumbuka was removed from the school curriculum, the national radio, and the print media.[8] With the advent of multi-party democracy in 1994, Tumbuka programmes were started again on the radio, but the number of books and other publications in Tumbuka remains low.[9]


Temwa explains basic Tumbuka greetings.

Two systems of writing Tumbuka are in use: the traditional spelling (used for example in the Chitumbuka version of Wikipedia and in the newspaper Fuko), in which words such as banthu 'people' and chaka 'year' are written with 'b' and 'ch', and the new official spelling (used for example in the Citumbuka dictionary published online by the Centre for Language Studies and in the online Bible), in which the same words are written with 'ŵ' and 'c', e.g. ŵanthu and caka. (The sound 'ŵ' is a closely rounded [w] pronounced with the tongue in the close-i position.)[10] There is some uncertainty over where to write 'r' and where 'l', e.g. cakulya (Dictionary) or cakurya (Bible) 'food'. (In fact [l] and [r] are allophones of the same phoneme.) There is also hesitation between the spellings 'sk' and 'sy' (both miskombe and misyombe ('bamboo') are found in the Citumbuka dictionary).[11]



The same vowels /a/, /ɛ/, /i/, /ɔ/, /u/ and syllabic /m̩/ are found in Tumbuka as in the neighbouring language Chewa.[12]

Tumbuka greeting "Monile" which means "Hello".


Tumbuka consonants are also similar to those of the neighbouring Chewa, but with certain differences. The continuant sounds /ɣ/, /β/ and /h/, which are absent or marginal in Chewa, are common in Tumbuka. Also common are the palatalised sounds /vʲ/, /fʲ/, /bʲ/, /pʲ/, /skʲ/, /zgʲ/, and /ɽʲ/. In Tumbuka there are no affricates such as Chichewa /psʲ/, /bzʲ/, /t͡s/, /d͡z/. The sounds /s/ and /z/ are never nasalised in Tumbuka, so that Chewa nsómba ('fish') = Tumbuka somba. The sound /ʃ/ is found only in foreign words such as shati ('shirt') and shuga ('sugar'). Tumbuka /ɽ/ sometimes corresponds to Chewa /d/, for example Chewa kudwala 'to be ill' = Tumbuka kulwala, Chewa kudya 'to eat' = Tumbuka kulya. The pronunciation of "sk" and "zg" varies according to dialect.

Tumbuka consonants are frequently either palatalised (i.e. followed by /y/) or rounded (i.e. followed by /w/.) Some of them can also be preceded by a homorganic nasal (/n/, /ng'/ or /m/). The possible consonant combinations are shown in the table below:

Table of Tumbuka consonants[13][14]
Labial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
plain lab. pal. plain lab. pal. plain lab. plain lab.
Nasal ma
Voiceless pa
Voiced ba
Aspirated pha
Nasalised mba
Nasalised Aspirated mpha
Fricative Voiceless fa
ska (sya)
Voiced va
Semivowel/Liquid ŵa
  1. ^ Only in the word ndyali.


One of the main differences between Chewa and Tumbuka is that Chewa is a tonal language, whereas in Tumbuka there are no distinctions of tone between one word and another.

Tumbuka has a tonal accent but in a very limited way, in that every word, spoken in isolation, has the same falling tone on the penultimate syllable (which also coincides with stress).[15] It is therefore not possible in Tumbuka to contrast two different words or two different tenses tonally, as it is in Chichewa and other Bantu languages. However, this penultimate falling tone occurs not on every word, but only on the last word of a phonological phrase; e.g. in the following sentence, only the second word has a tone, the first being toneless:[16]

A greater variety of tonal patterns is found in the ideophones (expressive words) of Tumbuka; for example Low (yoyoyo 'disintegrating into small pieces'), High (fyá: 'swooping low (of birds)'), High-Low (phúli 'sound of thing bursting'), and Low-High (yií 'sudden disappearance'), etc.[17]

Intonational tones are also used in Tumbuka; for example, in yes–no questions there is often a High-Low fall on the final syllable of the question:[18]

There does not seem to be any consistent, direct correlation between tone in Tumbuka and focus.[19]


Noun classes

As is usual with Bantu languages, Tumbuka nouns are grouped into different noun classes according to their singular and plural prefixes. Each class of noun has its own adjective, pronoun, and verb agreements, known as 'concords'. Where the agreements disagree with the prefix, the agreements take precedence in deciding the class of noun. For example, the noun katundu 'possessions', despite having the prefix ka-, is placed in class 1, since one says katundu uyu 'these possessions' using the class 1 demonstrative uyu. Malawians themselves (e.g. in the University of Malawi's Citumbuka dictionary) refer to the noun classes by traditional names such as "Mu-Ŵa-"; Bantu specialists, however, refer to the classes by numbers (1/2 etc.) corresponding to the noun-classes of other Bantu languages. Occasionally nouns do not correspond to the classes below, e.g. fumu 'chief' (class 9) irregularly has a plural mafumu in class 6.

Class 1/2 (Mu-Ŵa-)

Some nouns in this class lack the prefix Mu-:

Class 3/4 (Mu-Mi-)

Class 5/6 (Li-Ma-)

Class 7/8 (Ci-Vi-)

Class 9/10 (Yi-Zi-)

Class 11 (Lu-)

Some speakers treat words in this class as if they were in class 5/6.[20]

Class 12/13 (Ka-Tu-)

Class 14/6 (U-Ma-)

These nouns are frequently abstract and have no plural.

Class 15 (Ku-) Infinitive

Classes 16, 17, 18 (Pa-, Ku-, Mu-) Locative


Verbs, adjectives, numbers, possessives, and pronouns in Tumbuka have to agree with the noun referred to. This is done by means of prefixes, infixes, or suffixes called 'concords' which differ according to the class of noun. Class 1 has the greatest variety of concords, differing for pronouns, subject prefix, object infix, numbers, adjectives, and possessives:[21][22][23]

Other noun classes have a smaller variety of concords, as can be seen from the table below:

Table of Tumbuka concords
noun English this num that all subj object adj of perf
1 mwana child uyu yu- uyo yose wa- -mu- mu- wa wa-
2 ŵana children aŵa ŵa- awo wose ŵa- -ŵa- ŵa- ŵa ŵa-
3 mutu head uwu wu- uwo wose wu- -wu- wu- wa wa-
4 mitu heads iyi yi- iyo yose yi- -yi- yi- ya ya-
5 jiso eye ili li- ilo lose li- -li- li- la la-
6 maso eyes agha gha- agho ghose gha- -gha- gha- gha gha-
7 caka year ici ci- ico cose ci- -ci- ci- ca ca-
8 vyaka years ivi vi- ivyo vyose vi- -vi- vi- vya vya-
9 nyumba house iyi yi- iyo yose yi- -yi- yi- ya ya-
10 nyumba houses izi zi- izo zose zi- -zi- zi- za za-
11 lwande side ulu lu- ulo lose lu- -lu- lu- lwa lwa-
(or: ili li- ilo lose li- -li- li- la la-)
12 kayuni bird aka ka- ako kose ka- -ka- ka- ka ka-
13 tuyuni birds utu tu- uto tose tu- -tu- tu- twa twa-
14 uta bow uwu wu- uwo wose wu- -wu- wu- wa wa-
15 kugula buying uku ku- uko kose ku- -ku- ku- kwa kwa-
16 pasi underneath apa pa- apo pose pa- -pa- pa- pa pa-
17 kunthazi in front uku ku- uko kose ku- -ku- ku- kwa kwa-
18 mukati inside umu mu- umo mose mu- -mu- mu- mwa mwa-

Sample phrases and text

The following is a list of phrases that can be used when one visits a region whose primary language is Tumbuka:

Tumbuka English
Moni Hello
Monile hello, to a group of people
Muli makola?

Mwaŵa uli?

how are you?
Muli makola?

Mwaŵa uli?

How are you?, to a group of people
Nili makola I'm okay
Tili makola We're okay
Naonga (chomene) Thank you (a lot)
Yewo (chomene) Thanks (a lot)
Ndiwe njani zina lako? What is your name?
Zina lane ndine.... My name is....
Nyengo ili uli? What is the time?
Ningakuvwila? Can I help you?
Uyende makola Goodbye/go well/safe travels
Mwende makola Goodbye/go well/safe travels

(said to a group of people)

Enya/ Eh Yes
Yayi/Chala No
Kwali I don't know
Mukumanya kuyowoya Chizungu? Can you speak English?
Nayambapo kusambilila ChiTumbuka I've just started learning Tumbuka
Mukung'anamula vichi? What do you mean?
Chonde, ningaluta kubafa? May I please go to the bathroom?
Nakutemwa/Nkhukutemwa "I love you"
Phepa Sorry
Phepani Sorry (to a group of people)
Banja Family
Yowoya Talk/speak


Subject prefix

All verbs must have a subject prefix, which agrees with the subject noun.[24] For example, the word ciŵinda 'hunter' is class 7, so if it is subject, the verb has the prefix ci-:

ciŵinda ci-ka-koma nkhalamu = 'the hunter killed a lion'[25]

It is also possible for the subject to be a locative noun (classes 16, 17, 18), in which case the verb has a locative prefix:[26]

pamphasa pa-ka-khala mwana = 'on the mat there sat down a child'

The locative prefix ku- (class 17) is also used impersonally when discussing the weather:[27]

kukuzizima madazi ghano = 'it's cold these days'

When the subject is a personal pronoun, the subject prefixes are as follows (the pronoun itself may be omitted, but not the subject prefix):

(ine) n-kha-gula = 'I bought' (nkha- stands for ni-ka-)
(iwe) u-ka-gula = 'you bought' (informal, singular)
(iyo)[28] wa-ka-gula = 'he, she bought'
(ise) ti-ka-gula = 'we bought'
(imwe) mu-ka-gula = 'you bought' (plural or respectful)
(iwo) ŵa-ka-gula = 'they bought', 'he/she bought' (plural or respectful)

In the perfect tense, these are shortened to n-a-, w-a-, w-a-, t-a-, mw-a-, ŵ-a-, e.g. t-a-gula 'we have bought'.

In Karonga dialect, in the 3rd person singular a- is found instead of wa-, and the 3rd plural is wa- instead of ŵa-, except in the perfect tense, when wa- and ŵa- are used.[29]


To indicate the object, an infix can be added to the verb immediately before the verb root. Generally speaking, the object-marker is optional:[30]

Pokani wa(yi)gula galimoto = 'Pokani has bought a car' (class 9)
Changa waka(mu)nyamula katundu = 'Changa carried the luggage' (class 1)

The object-marker agrees with the class of the object, as shown on the table of concords above.

The object-marker can also be a locative (classes 16, 17, or 18):[31]

Kondwani wa(pa)kwera pa nyumba = 'Kondwani has climbed on top of the house'

The locative markers for personal pronouns are as follows:[32]

waniona (ine) = 'he has seen me'
wakuona (iwe) = 'he has seen you'
wamuona = 'he has seen him/her'
wationa = 'he has seen us'
wamuonani = 'he has seen you' (plural or respectful)
waŵaona = 'he has seen them'


Tenses in Tumbuka are made partly by adding infixes, and partly by suffixes. Unlike Chichewa, tones do not form any part of the distinction between one tense and another.

In the past a distinction is made between hodiernal tenses (referring to events of today) and remote tenses (referring to events of yesterday or some time ago). However, the boundary between recent and remote is not exact.[33]

Another distinction is made between past and perfect tenses. When a perfect tense is used it carries an implication that the resulting situation still exists at the time of speaking, for example: 'the pumpkins have spread (zathambalala) over the garden'.[34] The present perfect can also be used in verbs expressing a current situation such as ndakhala 'I am sitting' or ndakondwa 'I am pleased'. The remote perfect is used for events which happened some time ago but of which the effects still apply today, such as libwe lilikuwa 'the rock has fallen' or walikutayika 'he (has) died'.[35]

The future tenses similarly distinguish near from remote events. Some tenses imply that the event will take place elsewhere, for example ndamukuchezga 'I will go and visit'.[36]

Compound tenses are also found in Tumbuka, such as wati wagona 'he had slept', wakaŵa kuti wafumapo 'he had just left' and wazamukuŵa waguliska 'he will have sold'.[37]

Some Tumbuka tenses[38]
Tense Tense marker Example Translation
Present infinitive ku- ku-luta ‘to go'
Present simple -ku- wa-ku-luta ‘he/she goes/is going’
Present habitual -ku-...-anga wa-ku-lut-anga ‘he/she goes’ (some speakers only)
Present perfect -a- w-a-luta ‘he/she has gone’
Present perfect continuous -a-...-anga w-a-lut-anga ‘he/she has been going'
Remote perfect -liku- wa-liku-luta ‘he/she has gone’
Recent past simple -angu- w-angu-luta ‘he/she went’ (today)
Recent past continuous -angu-...-anga w-angu-lut-anga ‘he/she was going' (today)
Remote past simple -ka- wa-ka-luta ‘he/she went’
Remote past continuous -ka-...-anga wa-ka-lut-anga ‘he/she was going/used to go'
Near future ...-enge wa-lut-enge 'he will go' (now or today)
Emphatic future[39] -ti-...-enge wa-ti-lut-enge 'he will certainly go'
Distal future[40] -amu-(ku)- w-amuku-gula ‘he/she will buy’ (elsewhere)
Remote future -zamu-(ku)- wa-zamu-luta ‘he/she will go’ (tomorrow or later)
Remote future continuous -zamu-...-anga wa-zamu-lut-anga ‘he/she will be going' (tomorrow or later)
Present subjunctive -e ti-lut-e 'let's go'
Distal subjunctive -ka-...-e wa-ka-gul-e 'so that he can buy (elsewhere)'
Potential -nga- wa-nga-luta 'he can go'[41]

Other future tenses are given by Vail (1972) and others.[42]

In the 1st person singular, ni-ku- and ni-ka- are shortened to nkhu- and nkha-: nkhuluta 'I am going', 'I go', nkhalutanga 'I used to go'.[43]

Negative verbs

To make the negative of a verb in Tumbuka, the word yayi or cha(ra) is added at or near the end of the clause. It seems that yayi is preferred by younger speakers:[44]

wakulemba kalata yayi
'he is not writing a letter'
tizamugwira ntchito cha machero
'we will not work tomorrow'

With the present perfect tense, however, a separate form exists, adding -nda- and ending in -e:[45]

enya, nakumana nawo
'yes, I have met him'
yayi, nindakumane nawo
'no, I haven't met him'

The Ngoni influence on Tumbuka

Words of Ngoni (Zulu/Ndwandwe) origin found in Tumbuka:

All Tumbuka dialects have to some extent been affected by the Ngoni language, most especially in Mzimba District of Malawi. Ngoni is a language that originates from the Ndwandwe people who were neighbours to the Zulu clan prior to being conquered by the Zulu and being assimilated into the Zulu identity. The language spoken by the Ndwandwe was thus nearly identical to Zulu. Below are some examples of words found in Chitumbuka that are of Zulu/Ndwandwe origin, though most of them have original Tumbuka counterpart words that can be used interchangeably at the speakers will (excluding 'munwe/minwe' meaning 'finger/fingers' for example, which seemingly did not have an original counterpart, or the original word has been lost).

English Tumbuka Tumbuka-Ngoni dialect
see wona bheka
smoke khweŵa bhema
man mwanalume doda
virgin mwali nthombi

An example of Tumbuka

Mr M. Shonga from Mzimba, Malawi, illustrates the Tumbuka language

Months in Tumbuka:

English Tumbuka
January Mathipa
February Muswela
March Nyakanyaka
April Masika
May Vuna
June Zizima
July Mphepo
August Mpupulu
September Lupya
October Zimya
November Thukila
December Vula

An example of a folktale translated into Tumbuka and other languages of Northern Malawi is given in the Language Mapping Survey for Northern Malawi carried out by the Centre for Language Studies of the University of Malawi.[46] The Tumbuka version of the folktale goes as follows:

KALULU NA FULU (Citumbuka)
Fulu wakaluta kukapemphiska vyakulya ku ŵanthu. Pakuyeya thumba lake wakacita kukaka ku cingwe citali na kuvwara mu singo, ndipo pakwenda thumba lake likizanga kunyuma kwakhe.
Wali mu nthowa, kalulu wakiza kunyuma kwakhe ndipo wakati “bowo, thumba lane!” Fulu wakati, "Thumba ndane iwe, wona cingwe ici ndakaka sono nkhuguza pakwenda.” Kalulu wakakana nipera, ndipo wakati “Tilute ku Mphala yikateruzge.” Mphala yikadumula mlandu na kuceketa cingwe ico Fulu wakakakira thumba. Ŵakatola thumba lira ndipo ŵakapa kalulu.
Pa zuŵa linyakhe Kalulu wakendanga, Fulu wakamsanga ndipo wakati, "Bowo, mcira wane!" Kalulu wakati, “Ake! Fulu iwe m'cira ngwane." Fulu wakakana, ndipo wakati, "Ndasola ngwane." Ŵakaluta ku mphala, kuti yikaŵeruzge. Ku Mphala kula mlandu ukatowera Fulu. Ŵakadumula m'cira wa Kalulu nakupa Fulu.
Tortoise went to beg food from people. To carry his bag, he tied it to a long string and wore it round his neck. As he walked along, the bag was coming behind him.
As he was on his way, Hare came up behind him and said, "There it is, my bag!" Tortoise said "The bag is mine, see this string I've tied now I'm pulling it as I go." Hare refused to accept this and said "Let's go the Court, so that it can judge us." The Court examined the case and cut Tortoise's string which he'd tied the bag with. They took that bag and gave it to Hare.
Another day when Hare was walking along, Tortoise found him and said, "There it is, my tail!" Hare said, "Nonsense, this is my tail, Tortoise." Tortoise refused to accept this and said, "What I've got is mine." They went to the Court so that it could make a judgement. In that Court, the case went in Tortoise's favour. They cut off Hare's tail and gave it to Tortoise.

Some vocabulary

Helpful phrases



The plural ba- (ŵa-) is often used for politeness when referring to elders:



See also

Notable Tumbuka People


  1. ^ Tumbuka at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ a b Michigan State University African Studies Center information page.
  4. ^ Kiso (2012), pp.21ff.
  5. ^ University of Malawi (2006) Language Mapping Survey for Northern Malawi.
  6. ^ Kamwendo (2004), p.282.
  7. ^ University of Malawi (2006), p.27.
  8. ^ Kamwendo (2004), p.278.
  9. ^ See Language Mapping Survey for Northern Malawi (2006), pp.38-40 for a list of publications.
  10. ^ Atkins, Guy (1950) "Suggestions for an Amended Spelling and Word Division of Nyanja" Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 20, No. 3, p.205.
  11. ^ See entries citatanga, cidunga, cihengo.
  12. ^ Vail (1972), p. 1.
  13. ^ Chavula (2016), pp. 11–13.
  14. ^ Vail (1972), pp. 4–19.
  15. ^ Downing (2008, 2012).
  16. ^ Downing (2012), p.123.
  17. ^ Moto (1999), pp.112-120.
  18. ^ Downing (2008), p.55.
  19. ^ Downing (2012), p.129.
  20. ^ Shiozaki (2004).
  21. ^ Chase (2004).
  22. ^ Shiozaki (2004)
  23. ^ Vail (1971).
  24. ^ Chavula (2016), p. 22.
  25. ^ Chavula (2016), p. 42.
  26. ^ Chavula (2016), p. 23.
  27. ^ Chavula (2016), p. 24.
  28. ^ Chavula (2016), p. 23. But Kishindo et al. (2018), s.v. iye, have iye.
  29. ^ McNicholl (2010), pp. 7–8.
  30. ^ Chavula (2016), pp. 51–64.
  31. ^ Chavula (2016), p. 56.
  32. ^ Chavula (2016), pp. 53–4.
  33. ^ Kiso (2012), p. 176.
  34. ^ Kiso (2012), p. 171, quoting Vail (1972).
  35. ^ Kiso (2012), pp. 171, 178.
  36. ^ Kiso (2012), p. 184, quoting Vail (1972).
  37. ^ Kiso (2012), pp. 172, 182, 184, quoting Vail (1972).
  38. ^ Kiso (2012), pp. 163–192.
  39. ^ Kiso (2012), p. 183, quoting Vail (1972).
  40. ^ Kiso (2012), p. 184, 185, quoting Vail (1972). For the term 'distal', see Botne (1999).
  41. ^ McNicholl (2010), p. 8.
  42. ^ See Kiso (2012) pp. 182–188.
  43. ^ Kiso (2012), pp. 163, 173.
  44. ^ Kiso (2012), p. 190.
  45. ^ Kiso (2012), p. 191.
  46. ^ Language Mapping Survey, p. 60-64.


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  • Chase, Robert (2004). "A Comparison of Demonstratives in the Karonga and Henga Dialects of Tumbuka". Undergraduate paper. Amherst: Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Massachusetts.
  • Chavula, Jean Josephine (2016). "Verbal derivation and valency in Chitumbuka". Leiden University doctoral thesis.
  • Downing, Laura J. (2006). "The Prosody and Syntax of Focus in Chitumbuka". ZAS Papers in Linguistics 43, 55-79.
  • Downing, Laura J. (2008). "Focus and prominence in Chichewa, Chitumbuka and Durban Zulu". ZAS Papers in Linguistics 49, 47-65.
  • Downing, Laura J. (2012). "On the (Non-)congruence of Focus and Prominence in Tumbuka". Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics, ed. Michael R. Marlo et al., 122-133. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
  • Downing, Laura J. (2017). "Tone and intonation in Chichewa and Tumbuka". In Laura J. Downing & Annie Rialland (eds) Intonation in African Tone Languages. de Gruyter, Berlin/Boston, pp. 365–392.
  • Downing, Laura J. (2019). "Tumbuka prosody: Between tone and stress". In: Emily Clem et al (eds). Theory and Description in African Linguistics: Selected papers from the 47th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, 75-94. Also available online at: [1]
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  • Kamwendo, Gregory H. (2004). Kamwendo "Your Chitumbuka is Shallow. It's not the Real Chitumbuka: Linguistic Purism Among Chitumbuka Speakers in Malawi", Nordic Journal of African Studies 13(3): 275–288.
  • Kishindo, Pascal J. et Allan L. Lipenga (2006). Parlons citumbuka : langue et culture du Malawi et de la Zambie, L'Harmattan, Paris, Budapest, Kinshasa, 138 pages. ISBN 2-296-00470-9
  • Kishindo, Pascal J. (ed), Jean J. Chavula and others (2018). Mung'anamulira mazgo wa Citumbuka (Citumbuka dictionary). Centre for Language Studies, University of Malawi. ISBN 978-99960-9-610-5
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  • McNicholl, Duncan (2010). "The No-Nonsense Guide to Learning Chitumbuka: Volume 1".
  • Moto, Francis (1999). "The Tonal Phonology of Bantu Ideophones". Malilime: Malawian Journal of Linguistics no.1, 100-120. (pp. 112–119 deals with tone in Chitumbuka ideophones).
  • Mphande, L. (1989). "A Phonological Analysis of the Ideophone in Chitumbuka". Ph.D. Dissertation. The University of Texas, Austin.
  • Shiozaki, Lisa (2004). "Concordial agreement in the Karonga dialect of Tumbuka". Undergraduate paper. Amherst: Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Massachusetts.
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  • University of Malawi Centre for Language Studies (2006). "Language Mapping Survey for Northern Malawi".
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  • Vail, Hazen Leroy (1972). "Aspects of the Tumbuka Verb". Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin.