What Is Ajaua language

The ajaua [ 1 ] [ 2 ] or ion [ 3 ] (in ajaua: Ciyaawo , yao or Ciyao ) is a language family Bantu of Africa south-central. It is the language of the Ajaua people. It has approximately 3.1 million speakers distributed in three countries: Malawi (2 million), Tanzania (500 thousand) and Mozambique (450 thousand). There are also some speakers in Zambia .


The Ajaua ( yao ) language can be referred to by several names: chiYao, ciYao, achawa, adsawa, adsoa, ajawa, ayawa, ayo, ayao, djao, haiao, hiao, hyao, jao, veiao and waJao . [ 4 ]


In Malawi, its main dialect is mangochet , spoken mainly around Lake Niassa . In Mozambique, the main dialects are macale and massaninga .


In Malawi most speakers of the language live in the south near the southeastern tip of Lake Niassa (or Malawi) bordering Mozambique to the east. In Mozambique the majority of speakers live in [[provinces of Mozambique | Niasssa , on the shore of Lake Malawi and the Lugenda River at their meeting as the Rovuma River . In Tanzania the majority of speakers live in southern central Tanzania Mtuara , in the district of Masasi, and in the region of Ruvuma , in the district of Tunduru, east of Lake Niassa, along the border. with Mozambique.

Usage [ edit | edit source code ]

As with many vernacular languages ​​in Africa , Ajaua has had some official recognition and even a little literature over time. The language was even replacing other languages ​​spoken there, such as Portuguese , Arabic, German and English .

Phonology [ edit | edit source code ]

As in English, voiceless stops are breathed, but voiceless stops are not. Conventionally, there are only five pure vowels a, and, i, o, u, although there is some variation in the length of the vowels. The language is slightly tonal , as in other Bantu languages.

Spelling [ edit | edit source code ]

In each of the three main countries where Yao is spoken, the spelling differs greatly, in addition, there is a lot of illiteracy. In Tanzania , the spelling is based on that of the Swahili language , while in Malawi it is based on the Nianja language , whose characters are as follows:

Letters: THE B Ch D AND G I J / Dy K L Ly M N Ng ‘ Ny THE P s T U W Ŵ Y
Sound: The B d and

~ ɛ

ɡ i k l ʎ m n ŋ ɲ ɔ

~ o

P ʂ u w ʋ j

Macrons can be used to avoid ambiguities that could occur because there is no representation of short or long vowels. [ 5 ] [ 6 ]

Grammar [ edit | edit source code ]

Yao is, as are the Bantu languages , a SOV language (Subject – Verb – Object). It is also an agglutinating language with a very regular verbal inflection paradigm. Nouns are divided into several classes marked by prefixes , which partially correspond to real categories of things and people. Each class corresponds to a “characteristic” that is used to form the pronouns in the concordance links, which are the prefixes used before the verbs they command, adjectives and the noun of the appropriate class.

Word classes [ edit | edit source code ]

Class Prefix Feature Use
1 m-, mu-, mw- ju individual
2 ŵa-, a-, thinks-, achi- ŵa plural person
3 m-, mu-, mw- u singular living being
4 mi- ji plural living being
5 li-, ly- li others singular
6 bad- ga plural class 5
7 chi-, ch’- chi others singular
8 i-, y- i plural class 7
9 n-, ny-, mb-, (nw-) ji others singular
10 n-, ny-, mb-, (nw-) si plurals class 9
11 lu- lu as or singular class 10 10
12 you- you plural class 13
13 ka- ka diminutive singular
14 u- u collective and abstract, without plural; or some class 6 singulars
15th ku, kw- ku infinitives
15b (ku-, kwa-) ku locality (going to)
16 (Pan-) Pan locality (in)
17 (mu-, mwa-) mu locality (in, inside)

The correspondences with the concordance links are identical to the nominal prefixes except for classes 1 and 2 that have the concordance links ‘mb-‘ and ‘a-‘ respectively. The inclusion of classes 15b, 16 and 17 is a departure from the traditional Banto system, since its prefixes are more properly case-determining or prepositional.

Verb forms [ edit | edit source code ]

Quoted are the informal forms.

Personal forms prefix Pronoun in Portuguese
n-, ni- Me
(u-) (you – formal)
The- he, she, you (informal)
you- we
m-, mu-, mw- you (informal)
ŵa-, a- they


Indicative mode

As in many Bantu languages, this is characterized by an ending ‘a’. The Present, immediate future, perfect present, perfect past and past times are distinguished, the latter being irregular in formation.


The subjunctive mode is similar in form to the indicative, but as in many Bantu languages, the final ‘a’ is changed to ‘and’. It can be used as a polished imperative and is generally associated with subordinate clauses.

Imperative [ edit | edit source code ]

To form the “common” imperative (usually less polished), the simple stem can be used, or ‘n’ can be prefixed to the callsign, or the continuous suffixes ‘-ga’ or ‘-je’ can be added.

Pronouns [ edit | edit source code ]

Personal pronouns refer only to classes 1 and 2. Other pronouns are formed from the links of the classes. These pronouns, as a common feature of Bantu, are absolute, insofar as they are alone from the rest of the sentence: for accusative and prepositional word forms, affixes must be used. The third person pronouns depend on the class of the noun, as explained above.

Absolute pronoun Portuguese equivalent (subject, object)
unite me, me / me
(ugwe) you, for you
uwe we we
umwe you, you

These forms can be combined according to certain normal Bantu rules of vowel elision with prefixes like ‘na’ (with e).

There are also several statements, most of which form triples (‘this one’, ‘the one who is near’ and ‘the one who is far away’) – that is, the triple cue is used.


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