Professor Mtenje pens book to address gaps in Chichewa


Renowned linguist and lecturer Professor Al Mtenje, who is also the University of Malawi (Unima) pro-vice chancellor, has published a book in which he is addressing gaps in the Chichewa language.

Mtenje, who is a Chichewa language expert, says the book, titled The Phonology of Chichewa, seeks to address issues of sound in Chichewa language since the subject matter has not been addressed in over 50 years.

The book cover

“This book fills the gap in that for the first time, we have a publication which comprehensively presents all the crucial phonological issues of Chichewa in one volume,” he said.

Mtenje added that some of the crucial elements  the book covers are all phonological aspects of  Chichewa language.

He said: “Speakers of languages introduce changes partly to satisfy certain social needs. For as long as language change assists the users to enhance communication in their communities, such changes should be viewed positively.”

He said he co-authored the book with professor Laura Downing who is a professor of African Linguistics at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“She has been to the University of Malawi as a visiting scholar on many occasions in the last 10 years to carry out research on Chichewa with me,” said Mtenje, adding that Downing has published extensively on other African languages besides Chichewa.

The official launch of the book takes place tomorrow at the Zomba-based Chancellor College in the Little Theatre from 2pm.


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