A Look at the Ndali Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Ndali language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Niger-Kordofanian
Niger-Congo
Volta-Congo
Benue-Congo
Bantoid
Southern
Narrow Bantu
Central
M
Nyika-Safwa

Ndali is a Bantu language with 220,000 speakers spoken in Northern Malawi and Southern Tanzania. It has many strange tense forms. For instance, in the past tense:

Past tense A: He went just now.
Past tense B: He went sometime earlier today.
Past tense C: He went yesterday.
Past tense D: He went sometime before yesterday.

Future tense is marked similarly:

Future tense A: He’s going to go right away.
Future tense B: He’s going to go sometime later today.
Future tense C: He’s going to go tomorrow.
Future tense D: He’s going to go sometime after tomorrow.

Ndali gets a 5 rating, extremely hard to learn.

1 Comment

Filed under Applied, Bantu, East Africa, Language Families, Language Learning, Linguistics, Niger-Congo, Niger-Kordofanian, Regional, Tanzania

One response to “A Look at the Ndali Language

  1. Sid Debgupta

    Most English speakers cannot speak (or even understand ) any other language, and the probability of learning is almost zero. Which in a way is good. Ignorance is bliss – it leaves you time to advance your culture and enrich yourselves.

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