184.108.40.206 has made some very good additions and corrections and has standardised the spellings. But I'm not sure what is meant by "character" given as the translation of "nkalo". Is this really an important word? In what context is it used? Also why are the words for "sister" and "brother" only appropriate to be spoken by a man? What would a woman say instead? And does "agogo" only refer to an old woman or can it apply to an old man?
I think there are enough greetings, verbs and animals now. But the page could do with more numbers (hundred? thousand?), as well as more questions and grammar rules. - Trezatium 13:55, 4 Nov 2005 (EST)
I created this phrasebook because I couldn't find anything similar on the web. I'm far from an expert on Tumbuka, and just added some of the basic vocab I picked up in Zambia.
The guide was only intended to enable someone visiting the region to be polite by exchanging greetings. Many people in this region speak English anyway, and just about all of them speak some other indigenous language such as Chichewa, so a good knowledge of Tumbuka is not essential for the short-term visitor.
But I expect it is possible to create a guide to Tumbuka using the standard template, and I'd like to see it done. Only perhaps the list of animals could be preserved somewhere else on Wikitravel or Wikipedia? It would be a shame to lose it. And it might be useful to adapt the template to suit the environment in which the language is spoken, particularly the food and drink section.
Do you think it's a good idea to convert the page straight away? I've just about exhausted my knowledge of the language, so unless anyone else can supply a lot of vocab right away the guide will be full of gaps, and will probably be less interesting and helpful than it is at the moment. Trezatium 15:48, 7 Nov 2005 (EST)
Clarification: There are many people in this region who do not speak very good English. What I meant was that a visitor to the region would encounter mostly English speakers when visiting the venues (hotels, bars, bus stations, etc.) in which they would use the kind of phrases included in the standard template. And anyone wishing to chat with a farmer in a rural village would need an entirely different set of vocabulary. But of course that is true for many countries. Trezatium 16:26, 7 Nov 2005 (EST)
The template is just a basis for starting articles, you are welcome to modify or extend it in any direction you see necessary. But yes, I think it should be converted now — any gaps can be filled by other speakers of the language. Jpatokal 19:46, 7 Nov 2005 (EST)
I just templatized it. Anything I wasn't sure where to put, I left. -phma 08:19, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)
I'll tidy it up as best I can, using the Chichewa phrasebook as a guide. Trezatium 14:22, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)
"soft" and "hard" are meaningless as applied to vowels. (The term is used in Russian to refer to palatalization of adjacent consonants, but is not a general linguistic term; the same thing is called "wide" or "narrow" in Gaelic.) The vowel in "cat" is not common in languages with only five vowels; should it be "father"? English "oo" (which can be either of two sounds, not counting odd spellings like "door" and "blood") and French "u" are different sounds. Could you fix it if necessary? -phma 08:19, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)
You're right, the pronunciation guide is not accurate. For example, "yayi" definitely uses a similar sound to "father" or "car". I'm not certain about the best way to describe the "u" sound in phrases like "muli uli", but will try to find out. Trezatium 15:36, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)