Umbundu, or South Mbundu (autonym úmbúndú), one of two Bantu languages of Angola called Mbundu (see Kimbundu), is the most widely spoken language of Angola. Its speakers are known as Ovimbundu and are an ethnic group constituting a third of Angola's population. Their homeland is the Central Highlands of Angola and the coastal region west of these highlands, including the cities of Benguela and Lobito. Because of recent internal migration there are now also large communities in the capital Luanda and its surrounding province, as well as in Lubango.

South Mbundu
Native toAngola
Native speakers
6.19 million (2014)[1]
Official status
Official language in
 Angola ("National language")
Language codes
ISO 639-2umb
ISO 639-3umb



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop plain p t t͡ʃ k
prenasal. ᵐb ⁿd ᶮd͡ʒ ᵑɡ
Fricative voiceless f s h
voiced v
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Approximant w l j


Front Back
Close i ĩ u ũ
Mid e ẽ o õ
Open a ã


Umbundu has two tones: low and high. The first acute accent (á) in a word represents a high tone. The low tone is represented by a grave accent (à). Unmarked syllables carry the same tone as the preceding syllable.[4]


  • Welcome - Ukombe weya ("The guest has come")
  • Hello - Wakolapo? (sg); Wakolipo? (pl)
  • How are you? - Wakolapo? (sg); Wakolipo? (pl)
  • I'm fine thanks, and you? - Ndakolapo ("I'm fine); Twakolapo ("We're fine)
  • What's your name? - Velye olonduko vene? (frm); Helye onduko yove? (inf)
  • My name is ... - Onduko yange ame ...
  • Where are you from? - Pi ofeka yove? ("Where is your country?")
  • I'm from ... - Ofeka yange ... ("My country is ...")
  • Good morning - Utanya uwa
  • Good afternoon - Ekumbi liwa
  • Good evening - Uteke uwa
  • Good night - Uteke uwa; Pekelapo ciwa ("Sleep well")
  • Goodbye - Ndanda. ("I went")
  • Do you speak English? - Ove ovangula inglese?
  • Do you speak Umbundu? - Ove ovangula umbundu?
  • Sorry - Ngecele (sg); Twecele (pl)
  • Please - Ndinge ohenda. ("Give me pity")
  • Thank you - Ndapandula (sg); Twapandula (pl)
  • Reply - Lacimwe

Sample text

Omanu vosi vacitiwa valipwa kwenda valisoka kovina vyosikwenda komoko. Ovo vakwete esunga kwenda, kwenda olondunge kwenje ovo vatêla okuliteywila kuvamwe kwenda vakwavo vesokolwilo lyocisola.

Translation: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) vokussumba suko onhe?


  1. ^ "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Umbundu". 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. ^ Schadeberg, Thilo C. (1990). A Sketch of Umbundu.

Further reading

  • Schadeberg, Thilo C. (1982) 'Nasalization in Umbundu', Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, 4, 2, 109–132.
  • Gladwyn M. Childs 'Umbundu Kinship and Character: Being a Description of Social Structure and Individual Development of the Ovimbundu', London: Oxford University Press, 1949. ISBN 0-8357-3227-4.

External links


Angola ( (listen); Portuguese: [ɐ̃ˈɡɔlɐ]), officially the Republic of Angola (Portuguese: República de Angola; Kikongo, Kimbundu and Umbundu: Repubilika ya Ngola), is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.

The territory of Angola has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, hosting a wide variety of ethnic groups, tribes and kingdoms. The nation state of Angola originated from Portuguese colonisation, which initially began with coastal settlements and trading posts founded in the 16th century. In the 19th century, European settlers gradually began to establish themselves in the interior. The Portuguese colony that became Angola did not have its present borders until the early 20th century because of resistance by groups such as the Cuamato, the Kwanyama and the Mbunda.

After a protracted anti-colonial struggle, independence was achieved in 1975 as the Marxist–Leninist People's Republic of Angola, a one-party state supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba. The civil war between the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the insurgent anti-communist National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), supported by the United States and South Africa, lasted until 2002. The sovereign state has since become a relatively stable unitary, presidential constitutional republic.

Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy is among the fastest-growing in the world, especially since the end of the civil war; however, the standard of living remains low for most of the population, and life expectancy in Angola is among the lowest in the world, while infant mortality is among the highest. Angola's economic growth is highly uneven, with most of the nation's wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population.Angola is a member state of the United Nations, OPEC, African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, and the Southern African Development Community. A highly multiethnic country, Angola's 25.8 million people span tribal groups, customs, and traditions. Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule, in the predominance of the Portuguese language and of the Catholic Church.

Bolo language

Bolo, also known as Ngoya and Kibala, is a Bantu language of Angola that is closely related to Kimbundu.


Chipindo is a town and municipality in the province of Huíla, Angola.,It is situated 450 km North of Lubango, Huila province capital.

Culture of Angola

The culture of Angola is influenced by the Portuguese. Portugal occupied the coastal enclave Luanda, and later also Benguela, since the 16th/17th centuries, and expanded into the territory of what is now Angola in the 19th/20th centuries, ruling it until 1975. Both countries share cultural aspects: language (Portuguese) and main religion (Roman Catholic Christianity). However, the Angolan culture is mostly native Bantu, which was mixed with Portuguese culture. The diverse ethnic communities with their own cultural traits, traditions and native languages or dialects include the Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo, Chokwe, Avambo and other peoples.

Kavango – Southwest Bantu languages

The Kavango – Southwest Bantu languages are a group of Bantu languages established by Anita Pfouts (2003). The Southwest Bantu languages constitute most of Guthrie's Zone R. The languages, or clusters, along with their Guthrie identifications, are:

Kavango (K30)


Gciriku (Manyo)

? Mashi, Simaa, Mbowe, Shanjo, Kwangwa

Southwest Bantu

Ovambo (R20): Kwanyama, Ndonga, Kwambi, Ngandyera, Mbalanhu

Khumbi (Ngumbi, R10)

? Ndombe

Nyaneka (R10)

Ngambwe (ex-Nyaneka dialect)

Hakaona (ex-Herero dialect)

Herero (R30): Herero, ZembaThough not explicitly classified, Ndombe (R10) is presumably SW Bantu, and Mashi, Simaa (K30) Kavango. Maho (2009) adds Mbowe, Shanjo, and Kwangwa, as well as splitting off several varieties of these as distinct languages, such as Kuvale (R30 > R10). However, Mbukushu, Luyana, and Yeyi, sometimes included with these languages, appear to be more divergent lineages of Bantu.Previous, and more extensive, versions (Nurse 2003) included K10 Chokwe–Luchazi, L10 Pende, L50 Lunda, L60 Nkoya, H21 Kimbundu, the rest of R (Umbundu, Yeyi), and perhaps L21 Kete, L22 Lwalu, H13b Suundi.

Maho (2009) differentiates Herero proper, R.31, from North-West Herero (Kaokoland Herero, including Zemba and presumably Hakaona), R.311, and Botswana Herero (including Mahalapye Herero), R.312. Kuvale is moved to zone R.10 as R.101.


Kimbundu, or North Mbundu, one of two Bantu languages called Mbundu (see Umbundu), is the second-most-widely spoken Bantu language in Angola. It is concentrated in the north-west of the country, notably in the Luanda Province, Bengo Province, Malanje Province and the Cuanza Norte Province. It is spoken by the Ambundu.

Kimbundu languages

The Kimbundu languages are a group of Bantu languages coded Zone H.20 in Guthrie's classification. According to Nurse & Philippson (2003), they probably form a valid node, though this is still uncertain. They are:

Kimbundu (Mbundu), Sama, Bolo, Mpinda.Songo is often assumed to be a dialect of Kimbundu, but actually appears to be one of the Teke languages. Ngoya to its south was until recently considered a dialect of Kimbundu, but has now been recognized as a language in own right, and may be transitional between Kimbundu and Umbundu.

Kuvale language

Kuvale is a Southern Bantu language spoken in Angola, in the middle of a large Umbundu -speaking area. It has traditionally been considered a dialect of Herero; however, Maho (2009) has moved it from Bantu Zone R.30 to Zone R.10, which includes Umbundu and a few smaller languages. Ngendelengo may be a distinct language.

LGBT rights in Angola

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Angola have seen some improvement in the early half of the twenty-first century. Angolan law prohibits "acts against nature", though this law has seldom been enforced. In January 2019, the National Assembly approved a new penal code, which does not outlaw consenting same-sex sexual activity. It awaits the President's signature. Additionally, since 2015, employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been banned, making Angola one of the few African countries to have such protections for LGBT people.

Some NGOs in Angola, that are working on HIV/AIDS education, are beginning to work with the LGBT community, and there are no reports of LGBT people being specifically targeted for harassment in Angola by police or vigilante groups. Additionally, two specific LGBT groups operate in Angola. However, only one of these groups has received official and legal recognition.

Languages of Africa

The languages of Africa are divided into six major language families:

Afroasiatic languages are spread throughout Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and parts of the Sahel.

Austronesian languages are spoken in Madagascar.

Indo-European languages are spoken in South Africa and Namibia (Afrikaans, English, German) and are used as lingua francas in the former colonies of Britain and Liberia that was part of American Colonization Society (English), former colonies of France and of Belgium (French), former colonies of Portugal and remaining Afro-Portuguese islands (Portuguese), former colonies of Italy (Italian), former colonies of Spain (Spanish) and the current Spanish territories of Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands (Spanish).

Niger–Congo languages (Bantu and non-Bantu) cover West, Central, Southeast and Southern Africa.

Nilo-Saharan languages (unity debated) are spoken from Tanzania to Sudan and from Chad to Mali.There are several other small families and language isolates, as well as languages that have yet to be classified. In addition, Africa has a wide variety of sign languages, many of which are language isolates (see below).

The total number of languages natively spoken in Africa is variously estimated (depending on the delineation of language vs. dialect) at between 1,250 and 2,100, and by some counts at "over 3,000".Nigeria alone has over 500 languages (according to SIL Ethnologue), one of the greatest concentrations of linguistic diversity in the world. However, "One of the notable differences between Africa and most other linguistic areas is its relative uniformity. With few exceptions, all of Africa’s languages have been gathered into four major phyla."Around a hundred languages are widely used for inter-ethnic communication. Arabic, Somali, Berber, Amharic, Oromo, Igbo, Swahili, Hausa, Manding, Fulani and Yoruba are spoken by tens of millions of people. Twelve dialect clusters (which may group up to a hundred linguistic varieties) are spoken by 75 percent, and fifteen by 85 percent, of Africans as a first or additional language. Although many mid-sized languages are used on the radio, in newspapers and in primary-school education, and some of the larger ones are considered national languages, only a few are official at the national level. The African Union declared 2006 the "Year of African Languages".

Languages of Angola

The languages of Angola are predominantly Bantu and Portuguese, with a small minority of !Kung and Khoe speakers. About 39 languages are spoken in Angola. According to Ethnologue; there are 47 languages in Angola. 1 is extinct, and 46 are living. Out of the 46 living languages, 41 are indigenous, and 5 are non-indigenous. Additionally, 6 are institutional, 16 are developing, 19 are vigorous, and 5 are in trouble.

Mbali language

Mbali (Olumbali, Kimbari) is a minor Bantu language of Angola, spoken on the coast on the southern edge of the large Umbundu-speaking area and the northern end of the uninhabited Namib desert. Its classification is unclear. Arends et al. suggest it might turn out to be a Kimbundu–Umbundu mixed language, though it is nowhere near Kimbundu territory.


Mbundu may refer to:

Northern Mbundu people (Ambundu)

North Mbundu language (Kimbundu)

Southern Mbundu people (Ovimbundu)

South Mbundu language (Umbundu)

Ndombe language

Ndombe (Dombe) is a Bantu language of Angola. It was assigned by Guthrie to Bantu group R.10, which apart from Umbundu Pfouts (2003) established as part of the Kavango–Southwest branch of Bantu. Though not specifically addressed, Ndombe may be in that branch as well.

There is no standard form of Ndombe, nor an established writing system.

Ngoya language

Ngoya, also known as Pala (Kibala, Ipala), is a newly recognized language of Angola that since ca. 2010 has been used for national radio broadcasts. It had previously been considered a dialect of Kimbundu without any linguistic evidence, and appears to be transitional between Kimbundu and Umbundu.

Nyoya is spoken in Cuanza Sul between Songo to the north and Umbundu to the south.

The name "Ngoya" is an Umbundu word meaning "savage". The endonym is Pala, which with the noun-class-7 prefix is Íipàlà. It is frequently rendered as Kibala, which is the Kimbundu form.


The Ovimbundu, also known as the Southern Mbundu, are a Bantu ethnic group who live on the Bié Plateau of central Angola and in the coastal strip west of these highlands. As the largest ethnic group in Angola, they make up almost 40 percent of the country's population. Overwhelmingly the Ovimbundu follow Christianity, mainly the Igreja Evangélica Congregacional de Angola (IECA), founded by American missionaries, and the Catholic Church. However, some still retain beliefs and practices from African traditional religions.


Pajubá (Portuguese pronunciation: [paʒuˈba]) is the name of the Brazilian cryptolect constituted of the insertion of numerous words and expressions coming from West African languages into the Portuguese language. It is spoken by practitioners of Afro-Brazilian religions, such as Candomblé and Umbanda, and by the Brazilian LGBT community. Its source languages include Umbundu, Kimbundo, Kikongo, Egbá, Ewe, Fon and Yoruba.

It is also often described as "the speaking in the language of the saints" or "rolling the tongue", much used by the "saint people" (priests of African religions) when one wants to say something so that other people cannot understand.

Portuguese Angolans

Portuguese Angolan (Portuguese: luso-angolano) is a person of Portuguese descent born or permanently living in Angola. The number of Portuguese Angolans dropped during the Angolan War of Independence, but several hundreds of thousands have again returned to live and work in Angola in the 21st century.

Ẽ, ẽ is a letter in which the tilde indicates a nasal vowel. It is the 5th letter in the Guaraní alphabet and widely used in other Amerindian languages in Brazil, such as Kaingang. It is also found in Umbundu and perhaps in related Bantu languages.

Official language
National languages


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