Chokwe language

Ucôkwe (Wuchokwe)
Native toAngola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia
EthnicityChokwe people
Native speakers
(980,000 cited 1990–1991)[1]
Official status
Official language in
 Angola (national language)
Regulated byInstituto de Línguas Nacionais
Language codes
ISO 639-3cjk
LanguageUcôkwe (Wuchokwe)

Chokwe is a Bantu language spoken by the Chokwe people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Zambia. It is recognised as a national language of Angola, where half a million people were estimated to have spoken it in 1991; another half a million speakers lived in the Congo in 1990, and some 20,000 in Zambia in 2010.[1] It is used as a lingua franca in eastern Angola.

Writing system[]

Angola's Instituto de Línguas Nacionais (National Languages Institute) has established spelling rules for Chokwe with a view to facilitate and promote its use.



Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a ~ ɑ


Labial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p t (c) k
voiced b d (ɟ) ɡ
prenasal vd. ᵐb ⁿd (ᶮɟ) ᵑɡ
prenasal vl. ᵐp
Affricate voiceless p͡f t͡f t͡ʃ
voiced t͡v d͡ʒ
prenasal ⁿd͡v ⁿd͡ʒ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ h
voiced v z ʒ
prenasal ⁿz ⁿʒ
Nasal m n ɲ
Approximant lateral l ʎ
plain j w

Affricate sounds /t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ, ⁿd͡ʒ/ may also be pronounced as palatal stops [c, ɟ, ᶮɟ].


Chokwe has three tones as /v́/, /v̀/, and /v̂/.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b Chokwe at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Chokwe". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ Ualhanga, Xavier Chipuleno (2017). Antroponímia na Língua Cokwe (Lunda-Norte) [Anthroponymy in the Cokwe Language (Lunda-Norte)] (Master's thesis) (in Portuguese). Universidade NOVA de Lisboa. hdl:10362/21952.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  5. ^ Martins, João Vicente (1990). Elementos de Gramática de Utchokwe [Utchokwe Grammar Elements] (in Portuguese). Lisboa: Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical. pp. 25–32.