Luyana language

Native toZambia; immigrants in Namibia, Angola
RegionOkavango River
Native speakers
480 Luyana proper in Zambia (2010 census)[1]
perhaps 7,500 in Botswana (no date; not clear if Luyana proper)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3lyn

Luyana (Luyaana), also known as Luyi (Louyi, Lui, Rouyi), is a Bantu language spoken in Zambia and perhaps in small numbers in neighboring countries. It appears to be an divergent lineage of Bantu.[5] It is spoken by the Luyana people, a subgroup of the Lozi people.

Ethnologue lists Kwandi, Mbowe, Mbume, and possibly Kwangwa ("Kwanga") as dialects. Maho (2009) classifies these as distinct languages; it is not clear if any of them are part of the divergent Luyana branch of Bantu, or if they are Kavango languages.[4]

The writing system of the Luyana language was developed in 2011[6] and uses the Latin script.[6]

The language is taught in primary schools and secondary schools.[6]



Luyana has five simple vowels: a, e, i, o, and u.[7] o is almost always open and is rarely closed.[7] Wherever there may be hesitation between o and u, u should be used.[7]

There are no diphthongs.[7] When two vowels meet, they contract, or one is omitted.[7]


The Luyana consonant system has approximately 25 phonemes. The consonant inventory of the language is shown below.[8]

Bilabial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar
Plosive p  b    k  ɡ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Fricative s ʃ
Approximant j
Lateral approximant l


  1. ^ Luyana at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  2. ^ Botswana at Ethnologue
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Luyi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ a b Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  5. ^ Bantu Classification Archived 2012-06-24 at the Wayback Machine, Ehret, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Luyana | Ethnologue
  7. ^ a b c d e Jacottet, E. 1896
  8. ^ "Luyana sound inventory (PH)". Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2018.

See also[]