The Chewa language, more commonly referred as Chichewa, is a Bantu language spoken by about 8 million people in Africa. It is the second official language in Malawi along with the English language. Chichewa is also spoken in such countries as Zambia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe where it is known as the Nyanja or Chinyanja language. The Chewa language is spoken as a first language by most Ngoni in Malawi and as the second language by Kokola, Malawi Lomwe, and Yao people.
There are various dialects of the Chewa language. They are Chewa (Cheva, Chichewa, Sheva), Ngoni, Manganja (Cimanganja, Waganga), Nyasa, Peta (Cipeta, Malawi, Marave, Maravi) and Manganja in Sena.
Although there are some differences between the Chewa of Malawi and the Nyanja of Zimbabwe, they are not considered to be separate languages. There is also a dialect spoken in Lusaka and other parts of Zambia known as Town Nyanja which differs significantly from Nyanja and Chewa.
There are two variations of the written Chewa language. The first one is based on the Braille script, while the second one is based on the Latin script. It is worth to mention that today Latin script is considered to be in a primary usage.
The Chewa language is taught in primary schools, used in newspapers and on the radio. Since 1973, when the New Chichewa Orthography Rules were published, the orthography of the Chichewa language was standardized.