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Russian and Chichewa

I won't go into a lot of details, but I had Chichewa, a Bantu language, set on Google Translate.

I had a brain fart and couldn't remember the Russian word for "weather," so without first bothering to change the target language from Chichewa to Russian, I went ahead and entered "weather."

Google immediately translated the word for me to Chichewa. It said "pogoda*." I thought, "huh, that sounds familiar."

Then I changed the target language to Russian as intended and that's when I spit my coffee out of my mouth.

Can someone else do this and tell me if this was lame user error? Or can someone tell me why this basic, everyday word is shared by both a Bantu and a Slavic language?

Note: the source language was English, as you might have already guessed.

*Google Translate says that an alternative translation to this is "nyengo," which means "season, weather."

December 16, 2016



If this is a correct translation, that is amazing. However, (only using Google Translate and the internet) when I type "pogoda" from Chichewa to English, there is a suggestion that suggests it might be Polish (which is similar to Russian, but uses the Latin alphabet). Indeed, my Google searches seemed to be all Polish answers and such. Chichewa has a good amount of speakers, 12 million according to Wikipedia, so one would assume that when I searched "pogoda Malawi" which should mean "weather in Malawi (the country where Chichewa is widely spoken)", I would get some results in Chichewa. Not so, most, if not all, the results are in Polish.

Annnyway, I think that "pogoda" is either a little-used translation, or simply an error. If you ever feel the need to say weather in Chichewa, I would stick to "nyengo". That seems to be more common. If anyone here does happen to be a learner/native of Chichewa, feel free to correct. Though I might be wrong in my explanation, I now know more about Chichewa. It would be interesting to learn. :D


Well, Chichewa has a very small online presence so it would make sense that the results were all in Polish.


pogoda is panslavic (with root "god"), maybe even indo-european (wouldnt exclude being related to "good" as пригожий = handsome/nice and годный - actually good, fitting, appropriate. Doesnt explain Malawi though. Just a coincidence I suppose - I thought first it could be a glitch in google translate (happens) but it is translated the same from other languages as well.


That would make sense, thanks for explaining!


Could definitely be a bug. I have experienced cases with Google Translate where the name of a city was changed into the name of a completely different place.


Very, very late reply... searching for "pogoda chichewa" I found various sources suggesting that "pogoda" is a legit translation, including this: https://chichewa.english-dictionary.help/english-to-chichewa-meaning-weather


Hi Theron126, I tried your link and it didn’t suggest pogoda as a Chichewa word. I used to live in Malawi and learned a very little Chichewa, no expert at all, but it seems unlikely as a Cewa word. I think that was a glitch.


Just dropping a comment to indicate that checking the link currently does show pogoda as weather, with nyengo and ikuwombedwa as alternatives.

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