The Great Zimbabwe, or "stone buildings", is the name given to hundreds of great stone ruins spread out over 500 km (200 square mile) area within the modern-day country of Zimbabwe, which itself is named after the ruins.  The majority of the people of Zimbabwe speak a language called ChiVanhu or ChiShona, which consist of several dialects the major ones being ChiKaranga and ChiNdau.  The Shona people, in their language, call themselves Vanhu who speak a language called ChiVanhu.  The term Shona is a SiNdebele word derived from "entshonalanga", which means "people of the East and North East", since they lived East or North of Bulawayo, the capital of Lobengula.

The exact origin of the word Zimbabwe is not known, but the word is a ChiVanhu or ChiShona word with a clear meaning today among ChiVandu or ChiShona speakers.  As the analysis in this section will reveal, the word "Zimbabwe" is clearly from the ChiKaranga dialect of ChiVanhu and ChiShona.  However, there are three schools of thought regarding the origin of the name, Zimbabwe.

In the first theory, the word "Zimbabwe" is a short form for "ziimba remabwe" or "ziimba rebwe", a Shona (dialect; Chikaranga) term, which means "the great or big house built of stone boulders".  In the Chikaranga dialect of the Shona language, "imba" means "a house" or "a building" and "ziimba", or "zimba", means "a huge/big building or house".  The word "ibwe" (singular, plural being "mabwe") in the Chikaranga dialect means "stone boulder".  Thus, a linguistic analysis of the word "Zimbabwe" clearly indicates.

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