Wiktionary:About Chichewa

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Chichewa is an agglutinative Bantu language spoken in East Africa. This page details standard practice to be followed on all Chichewa pages.

Dialects and spellings[edit]

All dialectal words should be marked; Malawian Chichewa is the default dialect for all entries, but words restricted to Malawi should still be marked as such. "Town Nyanja" should also be marked. Dialects do not get independent L2 headers, but instead are marked with {{label}} on the definition line and {{qualifier}} elsewhere.

The orthography used on Wiktionary is a standard based on common popular usage in Malawi. The phoneme /t͡ʃ/ is <ch> and /t͡ʃʰ/ is <tch>, but other aspirated consonants should be followed by <h>. The affricates <bv> and <pf> are not used. The letter <r> should be used after <i> and <e>, and <l> elsewhere (except when the preceding vowel is an affix or otherwise not part of the root, in which case it should be written as <l>).

The circumflexed letter <ŵ> should not be in entry titles, but it should be in headword lines and entries can be linked to with <ŵ>, which is stripped from links. Tones should also be marked in headword lines, using the acute (´) to mark high tones and leaving low tones unmarked (mid tones are considered to be an emergent property of high tones in certain positions). Entries when linked to or mentioned should not show tone unless there is reason to do so (for example, to distinguish words whose only difference is tone). Tones should be marked in example sentences, but quotes that did not have tone marked originally should not be modified.

Spellings that do not match these rules can still be created (though entries should still never have <ŵ> or tone marks in the entry title). Entries with affricates can be marked with {{obsolete spelling of|...|lang=ny}}, those with <c> for <ch> and <ch> for <tch> should be marked with {{ny-obs in Malawi|...}}, and others can simply be marked with {{alternative spelling of|...}}.

Even when a base form (i.e., stem) does not exist, like -gwa, it will be where the lemma is located. It must be referred to and linked to with a hyphen preceding it, but the actual page it is located at should not have a hyphen in the title, but instead be (for example) gwa#Chichewa. Hyphens in entry titles should only be used when the entry is an affix that has no meaning unless attached to an inflected form, or a clitic that cannot be an independent word.


Pronunciation can be given using {{ny-IPA}}. For phonemic IPA, high tones should be marked as /á/ and low tones as /a/. Even when only one tonal form is given in the headword line, tonal variation may be marked in the IPA. Narrow IPA should give tones with actual IPA tone symbols. For phonemic IPA, <ŵ> should be marked as /wᵝ/, even though most speakers realise it as [w]. The values in the tables at the Wikipedia article Chewa language should be used.


Besides {{ny-IPA}} discussed above, there are headword-line templates {{ny-noun}} and {{ny-verb}} to be used for those parts of speech. At the current time, it has been chosen that conjugation, which is entirely regular in nearly all verbs, not be shown. New entries can be created quickly and easily by using {{ny-new}}. For all Chichewa templates, see Category:Chichewa templates.


Only one use or mention is necessary to attest a word in Chichewa, provided the source is primarily in Chichewa or concerned with the language specifically. Any spelling can be used to attest a word in the orthography used here as described above, but for the purpose of attesting any spellings that deviate from this standard, only that exact spelling counts.