Chichewa Dictionary at Your Fingertips Print

Used within and beyond the boundaries of Malawi
Why a Chichewa dictionary? There are many reasons why there is a need to have a Chichewa dictionary at hand. Even though English is the official language of Malawi, Chichewa is the major national language, which is taught at schools among all language groups of the country. Besides, Chichewa is of international significance. It is spoken in eastern Zambia where it is called Cinyanja, and by minorities in neighbouring countries like Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. The language is also spoken by Chichewa speakers in diaspora, for example in South Africa and Botswana, and other countries, e.g. in Europe and America, where they have received migrants of Malawi or Zambia people who have continued to speak the language. Moreover, the language is being learnt and spoken by many foreigners around the globe who maintain professional and personal relationships with speakers of Chichewa/ Cinyanja.

Published by Oxford University Press

The Chichewa Dictionary Project published its 5th edition through Oxford University Press (OUP) in September 2016. The dictionary can be ordered from OUP all over the globe. It is especially available in those countries in Africa, where millions of people use the language on a daily basis. In its book version the small-page bible-paper dictionary of 45,000 entries is easy to carry around. For users who prefer online versions, it is also available digitally, online, thus serving those who are constantly on the go.

History of the Chichewa Lexicography
Steven Paas compiled and edited the Chichewa Dictionary. He is a theologian from the Netherlands, and he started the dictionary initiative in 1997, when preparing to teach and minister at the Zomba Theological College through the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). Steven had a challenging time communicating with people in the vernacular and there was no dictionary available for him to use. Through his research and hunt for a Chichewa dictionary, he found that there had been various lexicographical attempts of producing Chichewa dictionaries. These findings included the work of Johannes Rebmann (a 19th-century German missionary in Kenya) and Salimini (a former slave, abducted from Malawi), who worked together to produce the first-ever written vocabulary of Chichewa-English, which was published in 1877. Johannes and Salimini had played an important role in the history of Chichewa dictionaries since.

Fifth Edition of CE and EC Volume

Steven wanted to attempt to come up with a Chichewa dictionary for users of his own time. Assisted by a network of his students and colleagues, he started to compile separate – English-Chichewa (EC) and Chichewa-English (CE) – manuscripts, published them, and through donor support tens of thousands of copies were distributed for free in secondary schools. By 2009, the two books had run out of stock and had not been reprinted. These CE and EC files needed to be revised. This is where the journey began to combine the two books into one volume, first published by Kachere. In 2010, the second edition was published by the Foundation Heart for Malawi, then in 2012 the third edition was released by VTR, followed in 2013 by the fourth by CLAIM, and then the fifth edition, which is the 2016-publication by Oxford University Press (OUP).

The Oxford Chichewa Dictionary is being distributed to shops and individuals by the following stores regionally:
-    Malawi, Lilongwe: Maneno Enterprise, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For Maneno’s special offer, click here.
-    Zambia, Lusaka: Gadsden Bookshop, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
-    Zimbabwe, Harare: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
-    Mozambique, Maputo: Valeo Servicos, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
-    South Africa, OUPSA, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
-    All other countries, OUP all over the globe

For any question mail to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Project Partners

Oxford University Press Oxford University Press
Centre for Language Studies Centre for Language Studies
Scotland Malawi Partnership Scotland Malawi Partnership
Johannes Rebmann Stiftung Johannes Rebmann Stiftung
Providing a tool for communication in Chichewa/ Chinyanja speaking Africa   Webmaster -  Copyright © 2022 Steven Paas