Hehe language

Hehe is a Bantu language spoken by the Hehe people of the Iringa region of Tanzania, lying south of the Great Ruaha River.[4] It was reported to have "Ngoni" features, that is, words of a Zulu-like language introduced when conquered by a Nguni or Zulu-like people in the early 19th century. However, other "Ngoni" speeches seem to have lost most of these distinctive features over the past 150-odd years, the language more resembling those of the neighbouring peoples. In 1977 it was estimated that 190,000 people spoke Hehe. There has been some Bible translation (British and Foreign Bible Society). Hehe may be mutually intelligible with Bena.[4]

Hehe has 15 noun classes (akin to the genders of European languages); it marks this class with a prefix.[5]

Native toTanzania
Native speakers
810,000 (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3heh


  1. ^ Hehe at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Hehe". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ a b Dwyer, D. J., Yankee, E., & Michigan State Univ., E. r. (1985). African Language Resource Handbook: A Resource Handbook of the Eighty-two Highest Priority African Languages. Prepublication Edition. http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED256170.pdf
  5. ^ David Odden, Introducing Phonology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 177.

Heh or HEH may refer to:

Heh (god), an Egyptian deity

Heh (letter), the fifth letter of many Semitic alphabets

Hehe language, spoken in Tanzania

Heho Airport, in Shan State, Burma

Helium hydride ion (HeH+)


Hehe may refer to:

the Hehe people

the Hehe language

an onomatopoeia for laughter

Hehe people

The Hehe (Swahili collective: Wahehe) are an ethnic and linguistic group based in Iringa Region in south-central Tanzania, speaking the Bantu Hehe language. In 2006, the Hehe population was estimated at 805,000, up from the just over 250,000 recorded in the 1957 census when they were the eighth largest tribe in Tanganyika.Historically, they are famous for vanquishing a German expedition at Lugalo on 17 August 1891 and maintaining their resistance for seven years thereafter.

Official languages


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