Welcome to Martin Shumba's Shona language pages.
locatezim Shona, or chiShona, is an African language spoken by nearly 80 percent of people in Zimbabwe. There are clusters of Shona people or Shona speaking people in Botswana and Mozambique, and in almost every country that shares borders with Zimbabwe. Shona people had no input in drawing these borders.

There are many regional Shona dialects. Although Shona is spoken throughout the country, I have include a map showing predominant languages spoken in various regions of Zimbabwe.

Shona language presented here has been limited to Shona words and sample sentences commonly used in the four major Shona dialects; Karanga, Zezuru, Manyika and Korekore. Minor Shona language dialects have, to a large extent, been ignored. However, they are still part of the Shona language. Korekore is one minor Shona dialect that I have elected to include because of its richness in vocabulary. There are numerous words that, as far as I know, are nonexistent in the major dialects, but are common words in Korekore.

Written Shona is constantly evolving. Unfortunately the language is deteriorating because of the tendency to assimilate foreign languages. It is no longer a pure language as spoken by my grandparents. The corruption of the language is recent. Although this website is not a Shona tutorial, it is a good reference for Shona language as spoken in Zimbabwe. Website contains searchable Shona-English and English-Shona dictionaries and includes general information about the language. We are continually adding more words to the dictionaries.

Topics covered include, but are not limited to the following:

Topics Covered
Shona-English This page contains a searchable Shona-English dictionary for converting Shona words to English.
English-Shona This page contains a searchable English-Shona dictionary for converting common English words to Shona.
Shona Examples This page has a pretty good number of sample Shona sentences with corresponding English translation.
Cousins in Shona This page shows how gender, in Shona, affects the way cousins are addressed or described.
Numbers in Shona This page covers the subject of numbers in Shona and is primarily for those unfamiliar with the subject.
Common Shona Names Here you will find common Shona names of animals, birds, fish and reptiles.
Miscellany Here you will find miscellaneous Shona topics that do not seem to fit elsewhere. This includes Shona people and Shona culture.
Shona Proverbs This page contains a list of Shona proverbs with corresponding English translations. Proverbs that are commonly-used by most of Shona speaking people.
Add Words Here is a general guide to submitting additional Shona and/or English words I might have omitted. Omissions include instances where I did not cover all possible meanings of a word and Shona words where corresponding English words exist.

Whats new
  • Shona Proverbs page is a new addition to these pages.
  • English-Shona page has been revised changing the way Shona words, meaning and corresponding English words are displayed. More English words have been added to the dictionary. You can now search English words aardvark through syrup.
  • Shona-English page has been revised changing the way Shona words, meaning and corresponding English words are displayed. Shona words listed on this page are only those corresponding to English words aardvark through cyst.
  • Shona Names page has been revised to add more common Shona names of animals, reptiles, birds and insects. A few of the images have also been changed.
  • Miscellany page has been revised to add a more detailed description of requirements and expectations in the section on "Marriage by Shona custom". Also added alternatives to traditional marriage. Corrected the Shona calendar that showed incorrect Shona names for the months of October, November, and December.
Submitting Shona Words
Help increase the Shona word list in the database for these Shona Language pages by submitting additional words I omitted and their meanings. Omissions may include instances where I did not cover all possible meanings of a word. In that case, treat the word as a new word and include all possible meanings for the word in question. Basic guide to submitting omitted words is on the Add Words page.

We need your feedback
This is an ongoing project and any suggestions you have to improve information offered here would be greatly appreciated. E-mail any comments or suggestions you have to Martin Shumba.