Learn Chichewa Lesson 1: Pronunciation

Lesson 1: Pronunciation 

Chichewa pronunciation patterns are generally quite predictable, even if not so easy for English speakers.

1-1. Vowels

Chichewa uses the five vowels a, e, i, o and u.

One of the things you will have to guard against is the diphthong glide that we use on most of our English vowels. All vowels in Chichewa should be pronounced as simple, single vowels, without the gliding tendencies of English vowel pronunciation.


a – as ‘a’ in father

e – as ‘e’ in bed

i – as ‘i’ in hit

o – as ‘o’ in go

u – as ‘u’ in put

1-2. Consonants

Consonants generally have a similar sound to their English equivalent, though there are some differences.


‘j’ is always pronounced as ‘dj’

‘ch’ is far softer than the English ‘ch’

‘ph’ is pronounced as a breathy ‘p’ as opposed to an ‘f’

‘r’ is often interchangeable with ‘l’.

Learn Chichewa Lesson 2: GreetingsLesson 2: Greetings  Some books introduce 'Hello' or  'Hi' as 'Mo...