by Scott Myers
Kinyarwanda is a language of the Bantu family spoken by about 7 million people, mainly in Rwanda. It is mutually intelligible with Kirundi, spoken mainly in neighboring Burundi. There is a robust linguistic literature on the language.
The pronunciation described here is that of Gilbert Habarurema, who grew up in Kigali. His is the voice in all the recordings, and he helped select the examples and provided their English translations. Thanks to Gilbert for all his help!
The basic vowels and consonants of Kinyarwanda are given in Tables 1 and 2. These include the default forms of all the sounds, though not every contextual variant.
|High||i, i:||u, u:|
|Mid||e, e:||o, o:|
|Bilabial||Labiodental||Alveolar|| Alveopalatal /
Vowels contrast in length.
Words can also be distinguished by tone. There are two tone levels: high and low High tone is indicated by an acute accent, and low tone is unmarked.