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Tumbuka belongs to the Tumbuka group of Bantu (Guthrie N20). (Webbook)
Ethnologue lists the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, N, Tumbuka (N.20)
According to Ethnologue:
Voegelin and Voegelin (1977) report nine mutually intelligible dialects of Tumbuka. Kashoki (1980, p. 3) notes that the Senga, Tumbuka, Fungwe, and Yombe of Zambia "speak practically the same language." Vail considers these dialect names to be geographical as opposed to linguistic designations. (Webbook)
According to Ethnologue:
In Zambia, Vail reports, "while Tumbuka is recognized as a major language of the country, it is not one of its official languages. This means that while it may be spoken and have literature published in it, it is not used on the Zambia Broadcasting System." In Malawi, Tumbuka had its former (colonial) official status removed by government action, thereby prohibiting anything to be printed in it aside from the Bible and religious tracts. Therefore, in Malawi as well as Zambia, Tumbuka is a local language. (Webbook)
Kamwendo (2004) gives some history and current perspectives on use of Tumbuka.
At this time there are several variants of Tumbuka orthography, and no known effort is being made to develop a standardized one. (Webbook) [need update!]
Apparently there are still several orthographies and no standard (Wikipedia) [verify!]
In Malawi, the Chitumbuka Language and Culture Association (CLACA), created in 1994, works on preserving the Tumbuka language, creating material, encouraging education in Tumbuka, and standardising the orthography. (Kishindo, 2006)
A sample text is shown on the "Language Museum" site: http://www.language-museum.com/t/tumbuka.htm
No information on any localisation efforts.
Wikitravel Tumbuka phrasebook http://wikitravel.org/en/Tumbuka_phrasebook
If indeed there is no standardised orthography (see 6.1, above), then this woould be a priority issue for localisation.
Kamwendo, Gregory Hankoni. 2004. "'Your Chitumbuka is Shallow. It's not the Real Chitumbuka': Linguistic Purism Among Chitumbuka Speakers in Malawi." Nordic Journal of African Studies Vol. 13(3) 2004, pp. 275 - 288. http://www.njas.helsinki.fi/abstracts/vol13num3/abstract_13_3_3.html (note link to article in PDF)
Kishindo, Pascal J., Lipenga, Allan L. 2006. Parlons citumbuka : langue et culture du Malawi et de la Zambie. Paris [etc.] : L'Harmattan. ISBN 2296004709.
SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Tumbuka," http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tum
SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp
U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php
Wikipedia, Tumbuka language," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumbuka_language