|English is the official language in Zambia, but
there are five main languages and more than 70 different dialects. The
main languages are Tonga, Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi and Luvale.
About a million Zambians, mostly in the south,
speak Tonga. Bemba is the first language of many people in the Copperbelt
area. People speak Nyanja in the east and in urban areas. Half a million
Zambians in the west and south speak Lozi. Luvale is spoken in northwestern
Zambia. Other important languages are Lunda and Kaonde.
|Zambians are known for their friendliness and
courtesy. Traditional greetings and handshakes vary across the country.
In western regions, people will greet each other by alternately clasping
and clapping hands three times. In the northern region, people commonly
bend one knee while shaking hands. To show respect during a greeting or
introduction, Zambians will sometimes support their right hand with their
Gift giving is an important ritual. Because
gifts represent a sign of honour, friendship or gratitude, people always
accept them. The refusal of a gift may surprise and offend the giver. When
a gift is presented, both giver and receiver use two hands. The use of
only one hand, especially the left, may be considered rude. At the birth
of a baby, well-wishers usually bring a gift. Traditionally, a visitor
who arrives empty-handed will not be allowed to hold the newborn.
Lozi language has at least 40 words that mean "woman". Each describes a
woman at a particular stage in life. For example, a namukuka is
an unmarried woman. A mubala is a newlywed, just arrived in her