So how exactly are you supposed to say brother in Shona?
Brother is brother unless it is brother in Shona…
When it comes to certain things with the Shona language you just have to learn the rules. This much is very true of the titles for relations in the language. Now in English you can simply say “brother” or “sister” or even “aunt” and “uncle”
But when it comes to the Shona language there are rules, exceptions, and hierarchies.
Today we explore one of these interchangeable terms.
Let us consider these siblings:
If Mary were to say “brother” to Jonathan or Benjamin she would refer to them as
Mary would also refer to Benjamin as
This is because he is the first born and is not determined by gender. A boy or a girl could be mukoma.
But when Benjamin addresses Jonathan he would call him
So that is the crucial difference.
It seems easy enough to remember, but if you are immersed in conversation without knowing this seemingly simple rule you will very easily become confused as to why males and females change these titles supposedly at whim.
Both these terms are true. But unless you understand the reasons why it is more than slightly confusing. And so now you are armed with the knowledge of how to say brother in Shona!
Go out there and use it well.
So that is how you say brother in Shona.
We hope you found it helpful.
If you did then do consider signing up to our newsletter so we can let you know when we post more Shona phrases to learn.
If you have any phrases you would like us to translate from English to Shona then leave a comment below and we will post it as a Shona Phrase of the Day on our site.