Spread the word, there’s a new source for learning Bemba online! The Bemba language, ChiBemba (also spelled Cibemba, Ichibemba, Icibemba and Chiwemba), is a major Bantu language spoken primarily in north-eastern Zambia by the Bemba people and as a lingua franca by about 18 related ethnic groups, including the Bisa people of Mpika and Lake Bangweulu, and to a lesser extent in Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Botswana. According to Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, including all its dialects, Bemba is the most spoken indigenous language in Zambia.
Thanks to Richard Katebe and his work on Kitwe Online, a series of Bemba lessons is now available for you online. Bemba Lesson 8 describes how to read and pronounce Bemba words. Kitwe Online has also included a video clip in this lesson – clearly they are the go to resource for learning Bemba online.
The Bemba language is broadly based on the English alphabet. Most words are based around the five vowels. Except for the six letters of the alphabet that are either rarely used (J) or absent altogether from the Bemba alphabet (Q,R,V, X and Z), most of the consonants are pronounced the same as in English: B,C,D,F,G,H,K,L,M,N,P,S,T,W, and Y.