01/09/2010 - We are happy to announce this first release of the English / Chichewa (Nyanja) Online Dictionary as a free service available to the public. We will try to run and provide it, as much as possible, in the spirit of an free, open and users driven project. Since this is the first release, there is still a lot of room for improvements both to the functionality and usability of the site as to the number of known words in the dictionary database. However we hope that over the time the service will get better and better. As the idea is to provide the service mainly as an users driven project so will its quality and usefulness depend largely on the needs and suggestions of its users. So use it, support and contribute to it in the way you think you can, make suggestions, send us feedback and don't stop asking for more :)

Chewa language
Chewa, also known as Nyanja, is a language of the Bantu language family. The gender prefix chi- is used for languages, so the language is also known as Chichewa and Chinyanja (spelled Cinyanja in Zambia), and locally Nyasa in Mozambique. Chewa is the national language of Malawi. It is also one of the seven official African languages of Zambia, where it is spoken mostly in the Eastern Province. It is also spoken in Mozambique, especially in the provinces of Tete and Niassa, as well as in Zimbabwe where, according to some estimates, it ranks as the third-most widely used local language, after Shona and Northern Ndebele. It was one of the 55 languages featured on the Voyager. Wikipedia

The English language has acquired an important position in the societies of Central and Southern Africa. However, the vernacular languages have remained indispensable vehicles of communication. For more than 15 million people in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, Chinyanja or Chichewa has become the most significant language of daily life. The language has gained importance and strength by developments in its written and oral use, and because an increasing number of its speakers have come to discover and emphasise their common linguistic heritage and practice. That is why it has become an intermediary language for all Malawians, and for many people in the whole of Central and Southern Africa. Chichewa Dictionary Project

The English / Chichewa (Nyanja) Online Dictionary service will try to be run and provided to the public, as much as possible, in the spirit of an free, open and users driven project. While the service is for now available at the sasrc site it is sasrc interest and commitment to mainly do research and development on the technical side of the project while the rest of it (mainly the content and the dictionary database) is largely left to be driven forward by its users. Additionally to developing the technical side of the project, we hope to be able to keep a small team of users and supporters that will try to cover the basics to keep the rest of the project updated and running. Generally any individual or group interested to support and work on the project can become a part of this team.

Since a large part of the project is meant to be open and driven by its users it is not possible to guarantee that everything is 100% accurate or error-free. The content is provided as it is and we cannot take any responsibility for it. However if you have any suggestions or find some mistakes we will be happy and grateful when you inform us about them so we can review and fix them. Same goes for possible legal or other issues.

As for using the dictionary itself it is important to understand that it is, in its present form, working mainly as a dictionary and not as a translator. That is, it is doing single word by word lookups and not full sentence translations. It is important to understand this difference to be able to use it efficiently and get the most out of it. We hope to be able to improve its functionality, usability and quality over time by both increasing the database of known words as also by the research and development done on the technical side.

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