Suba-Simbiti language

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Native toTanzania
RegionMara Region
Native speakers
110,000 (2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ssc
JE.403 (shared w Kenyan Suba)[3]

Suba-Simbiti (Kisuba, Kisimbiti) is a Bantu language of Tanzania. Suba-Simbiti is spoken by six groups in the Tarime region of Tanzania; this include Hacha, Kine, Sweta, Simbiti and Kiroba. The total number of speakers is in the region of 110,000.


Simbiti has a seven-vowel system with the vowels /i e ɛ a ɔ o u/ attested. However, only the five vowels / i ɛ a ɔ u / are found in verb roots.


Simbiti has a basic SVO word order and head-initial syntax; the language has 19 noun classes, including two locative classes.

There are three past tenses: a recent past, distant past and a general past. There is also a three-way distinction in the future: immediate future, a hodiernal future (used for events that will take place later the same day) and a distant future tense for events that will take place after today. Simbiti uses a range of simple and complex verb forms to encode a wide range of specific tense-aspect combinations; the progressive verb forms (past progressive, present progressive and future progressive) are all formed through the use of compound, auxiliary-based constructions, with the past progressive and the present progressive both exhibiting verb-auxiliary order.

Simbiti is one of a small set of East African Bantu languages that exhibit verb-auxiliary constituent order in restricted contexts. In Simbiti, the auxiliary appears after the verb in the past progressive and the present progressive tenses.


  1. ^ Suba-Simbiti at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Suba-Simbiti". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online