Interesting Facts about the Makua Languages

Interesting Facts about the Makua Languages

Africa is one of the continents in the world with the largest amount of languages that are spoken and written.

There are hundreds of different languages that vary from tribe to tribe and with that being said, African languages are commonly looked at as the most interesting languages to study.  The Makua languages in particular have a very unique basis and are spoken by a relatively large portion of areas in Africa.


The Makua

Prior to understanding the language, it is imperative that linguists understand the Makua as a whole.  They are commonly known as one of the most “hidden” tribes in the world, meaning that they generally do not venture to public locations and prefer to keep most communication within their tribes.  With that being said, it has been incredibly difficult to find information pertaining to this unique group of people.  The Makua are said to have a pagan belief system that revolves around spirits and the dead.


General Language Information

There are three main names for the Makua language: Makhuwa, Macua, and Makua.  It is known to be the primary language in the Bantu category that is spoken in the northern parts of Mozambique.  Spoken by 4 million people in the Makua tribes, this language is widely spoken and written throughout the Bantu tribes.  The majority of individuals who speak Makua reside in Nampula which is known to be the most populated indigenous area in Africa.  Also, the language is the most popular indigenous language spoken and written in Mozambique.  The reason for this is that the province of Nampula does not have any other ethnic group aside from the Makua.


Distinguishing Pronunciation

One of the most important aspects to the Makua language is the pronunciation associated with different words.  The vowels (a, e, i, o, u) are used incredibly sparse in the Makua language which is out of the ordinary for other Bantu languages.  When speaking Makua it is imperative that the long and short vowels need to be distinguished as mispronunciation could force an individual to say a completely different word.  As an example, “omela” means to sprout, whereas “omeela” means to share out.


Considering that there are many different languages spoken in the continent of Africa, it can be difficult for linguists to study them all.  With the Makau’s unique religious beliefs and their exclusive language, they generally separate themselves from other surrounding tribes in the area.

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