Ronga language

Native to Mozambique, South Africa
Region South of Maputo
Native speakers
720,000 (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 rng
Glottolog rong1268[2]
Linguasphere 99-AUT-dd
incl. varieties

Ronga (XiRonga; sometimes ShiRonga or GiRonga) is a south-eastern Bantu language in the Tswa–Ronga family spoken just south of Maputo in Mozambique. It extends a little into South Africa. It has about 650,000 speakers in Mozambique and a further 90,000 in South Africa, with dialects including Konde, Putru and Kalanga.

The Swiss philologist Henri Alexandre Junod seems to have been the first linguist to have studied it, in the late 19th century.


Its alphabet is based on that of Tsonga as provided by Methodist missionaries and Portuguese settlers.

Methodist alphabet
Letter: A B C D E G H I J K L M N O P R S Ŝ T U V W X Y Z
Value: a b~β d e~ɛ a h i k l m n ŋ ɔ~o p r s ʂ t u v w ʃ j z ʐ
1989 alphabet[4]
Letter A B By Ch D E G H Hl I J K L Lh M N O P Ps R S Sv Sw T U V Vh W X Xj Y Z Zv Zw
Value a b~β b͡ʐ d e~ɛ a h ɸ i k l ʎ m n ŋ ɔ~o p p͡ʂ r s ʂ t u ʋ v w ʃ ʒ j z ʐ


Ronga is grammatically so close to Tsonga in many ways that census officials often consider it a dialect; its noun class system is very similar and its verbal forms are almost identical. Its most immediately noticeable difference is a much greater influence from Portuguese, due to being centred near the capital Maputo (formerly Lourenço Marques).


Ronga language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator
  1. Ronga at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Ronga". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online

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