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Pazande, the language of the Azande people, who inhabit the area between the Uele and Mbomu rivers in the Republic of Zaïre and the border regions of the Central African Republic and the Sudan. There are approximately 1.6 million speakers (1967, estimate).
The Zande sound system has eight vowels and 19 consonants. The length of the vowels sometimes has a lexical significance. Among consonants are the labiovelars: voiceless kp and voiced db. There are two different tones, which have grammatical, lexical, and syntactic significance. The tones characterize specific classes of words and are of great importance in the conjugation of verbs and in conveying case relations. There is no grammatical gender in nouns, but pronouns have four genders: masculine, feminine, animal, and inani-mate.