Language Salaam

The official languages of The Union of the Comoros are French and Arabic. French is the language of government while Arabic is the language of Islam, the major religion in the country. French is used as the official language on the island of Mayotte.

In daily life, most people speak one or more varieties of Comorian, the language group indigenous to the Islands. It is closely related to the Swahili of the East African coast. Comorian is typical of a Bantu language with a large number of noun classes and an elaborate set of verb tenses and aspects. For centuries, people have used Arabic script to write Comorian and there is an attempt presently to normalize an orthography for writing the varieties of the language in Roman script.

The rich vocabulary of Comorian has been enhanced by the borrowing of words from many other languages. Since Comorians have been involved in maritime trade for a thousand years or more, they have come into contact with a number of different peoples and their language reflects this contact. Words of Indian, Persian, Arabic, Portuguese, English, and French origin have been added to those of African ancestry.

There are four varieties of Comorian spoken in the Islands: Shingazidja, Shimwali, Shinzwani, and Shimaore. Each one is named for the primary island on which it is spoken. Shingazidja is primarily spoken on Ngazidja, Shinzwani on Nzwani, Shimwali on Mwali, and Shimaore on Maore.


For information about the latest edition of the Comorian-English, English-Comorian (Shinzwani) Dictionary contact
Banawasi Press, 2301 S Ocean Dr, #2005, Hollywood, FL 33019.

To order a copy click here.