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  • Chichewa Lesson #2: People Vocabulary
  • Marissa Saints
  • ChichewaMalawi

Chichewa Lesson #2: People Vocabulary

This blog continues our lessons on basic Chichewa for those interested in learning a bit of the primary Malawian language. Today, I am focusing on vocabulary words for people.  These are essentail to know as you work on your greetings and help you follow conversations by knowing who is the subejct.


  • Amayi = Mother/Ma'am
  • Bambo = Father/Sir
  • Agogo = Grandma/Grandpa/Elderly person
  • amfumu = Chief
  • Achimwene = Brother
  • Achemwali = Sister
  • Adona = Madam
  • Abwana = Sir/Boss
  • Anyamata = boy
  • Atsikana = Girl

Note: when talking about family it's not really necessary to know all of our extended family titles like cousin, brother-in-law, niece, etc.  In Malawi, nearly everyone is a brother or sister, mother or father.  For example, a friend and a cousin are both brothers to you.  Also, the older brother of your husband is often called a Father to you.  Your uncle is also your father.  An exception is that a youth might refer to a slightly older woman/friend as "auntie". Finally, any elderly person (male or female) is refered to as Agogo ("a" means respect) whether you are related to them or are just greeting them on the street.

Practice (read this conversation outloud three times!):

Gal: "Moni achimwene"
Guy: "Moni achemwali"
Gal: "Muli bwanji?"
Guy: "Ndili/Tili bwino, kaya inu?"
Gal: "Tili bwino"
Gal: "Zikomo"
Guy: "Zikomo"

  • Marissa Saints
  • ChichewaMalawi