Venda, also known as Tshivenḓa, or Luvenḓa, is a Bantu language. The majority of Venda speakers live in South Africa (where Venda is an official language), but there are also speakers in Zimbabwe. During the Apartheid era of South Africa, the bantustan of Venda was set up to cover the Venda speakers of South Africa.
The Venda people are culturally closer to the Shona people of Zimbabwe rather than any other South African group. The language also shares features with Shona and Northern Sotho. There has also been some influence on the language from the Nguni languages.
A number of diacritical signs is used in Tshivenda and they are not found in all fonts (mainly accommodated by Unicode fonts). Alternative fonts and more information can be found on this site and at the Africanlanguage.com site. The Tahoma font available for MS Word on Windows seem to work quite well as well. For more on how to add these diacritic characters to your documents see Tshivenda : Characters.
The Vhavenda (Venda people) live mainly from north to east of Makhado (Louis Trichardt) in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
CLASSIFICATION: Family: Bantu (or rather Ntu) Language Family Group: South Eastern Bantu (or rather Ntu) No Subgroup
VARIETIES: Tshiilafuri (Western Venda; has traces of Sotho); Tshimanda (Central Venda; commonly used by the Luonde and Lwamondo); Venda proper (found in Tshivhase and Mphaphuli's areas); Tshimbedzi (Eastern Venda); Tshilembethu (North-Easter Venda) and Extreme Eastern Venda (influenced by Karanga from Zimbabwe); as well as Tshironga (Southern Venda) and South-Eastern Venda (shows influence of Tonga and Sotho)
Venda culture is an interesting mix of other cultures - it appears to have incorporated a variety of East African, Central African, Nguni, and Sotho characteristics. For example, the Venda forbid the consumption of pork, a prohibition that is common along the East African coast. They also practice male circumcision, which is common among many Sotho, but not among most Nguni peoples. The Venda language, TshiVenda or LuVenda, emerged as a distinct dialect in the 16th Century. In the 20th Century, the TshiVenda vocabulary was similar to SeSotho, but the grammar shares similarities with Shona dialects, which are spoken in Zimbabwe. Today about 875 000 people in South Africa speak Tshivenda.
|A a||B b||(C c)||D d||Ḓ ḓ||E e||F f|
|G g||H h||I i||(J j)||K k||L l||Ḽ ḽ|
|M m||N n||Ṋ ṋ||Ṅ ṅ||O o||P p||(Q q)|
|R r||S s||T t||Ṱ ṱ||U u||V v||W w|
|X x||Y y||Z z|
|letter(s)||value(s) in IPA||notes|
|bw||[bγw] or [bj]||Varies by dialect|
|dzh||[d͡ʒ]||Similar to English "j"|
|h||[ɦ], [h]||Pronounced as [h] before e.|
|m||[m], [ɱ]||Pronounced as [ɱ] before v and vh. M is syllabic, [m̩], when following syllable begins with m.|
|n||[n]||Pronounced as [n̪] before ḓ and ṱ. N is syllabic, [n̩], when following syllable begins with n.|
|x||[x]||Similar to the ch in Scottish 'loch.'|