African Traditions Online Encyclopedia Wiki
Advertisement

REFERENCES:

One Wordl; Nations Online

http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/african_languages.htm

__________________________________________________

Map showing the distribution of African language families and some major African languages,
map based on a map made by Mark Dingemanse.

Africa Languages 20180620.png

List of official, national and spoken languages of Africa.

Africa is a continent with a very high linguistic diversity, there are an estimated 1500-2000 African languages.

Of these languages four main groupings can be distinguished:

Afro-Asiatic (appoximately 200 languages) covering nearly Northern Africa (including the horn of Africa, Central Sahara et the top Nile)

Nilo-Saharian gathering appoximately 140 languages with some eleven millions speakers scattered in Central and Eastern Africa.

Niger-Saharian (Niger-Congo) covering the two third of Africa with as a principal branch the Niger-Congo which gathers more than 1000 languages with some 200 millions speakers. The Bantu languages of Central, Southern, and Eastern Africa form a sub-group of the Niger Congo branch.

Khoisan gathering about thirty languages in Western part of Southern Africa. All African languages are considered official languages of the African Union

________________________________________________________________________

African Countries


   Country
   


   Official and national Languages
   


   Other spoken Languages
 

Algeria

Arabic, Berber languages, four dialects (by constitutional amendment)

French

Angola

Portuguese

Narrow Bantu like Umbundu and other African languages.

Benin

French

Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north).

Botswana

Setswana (national language with minor differences in dialects), English is the official business language and it is widely spoken in urban areas.

Burkina Faso

French

Native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population.

Burundi

Kirundi, French

Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area).

Cameroon

English, French

24 major African language groups.

Cape Verde

Portuguese

Kabuverdianu (Crioulo) (a blend of Portuguese and West African words).

Central African Republic

French, Sangho (lingua franca and national language)

Banda, Gbaya and other tribal languages.

Chad

French, Arabic

Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects.

Comoros

Arabic, French

Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic).

Democratic Republic of the Congo

French

Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba.

Congo, Republic of the

French

Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread).

Côte d'Ivoire

French

60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken.

Djibouti

French, Arabic

Somali, Afar

Egypt

Arabic

English and French widely understood by educated classes.

Equatorial Guinea

Spanish, French

pidgin English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo.

Eritrea

Tigrinya (Tigrigna), Arabic, English

Tigré (second major language), Afar, Bedawi, Kunama, other Cushitic languages.

Ethiopia

Amharic

Tigrinya, Oromo, Gurage, Somali, Arabic, 80 other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)

Gabon

French

Bantu languages like Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi.

Gambia, The

English

Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars.

Ghana

English

African languages (including Akan, Adangme, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)

Guinea

French (spoken by 15-20%)

Eight national languages, Soussou (Susu, in coastal Guinea), Peulh (Fulani, in Northrn Guinea), Maninka (Upper Guinea), Kissi (Kissidougou Region), Toma and Guerze (Kpelle) in rain forest Guinea; plus various ethnic groups with their own language.

Guinea-Bissau

Portuguese

Crioulo (a mixture of Portuguese and African), other African languages.

Kenya

English, Kiswahili

numerous indigenous languages.

Lesotho

Sesotho (southern Sotho), English

Zulu, Xhosa.

Liberia

English 20%

some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence.

Libya

Arabic

Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities.

Madagascar

French, Malagasy

Malawi

English, Nyanja (Chichewa, Chewa)

Lomwe, Tumbuka, Yao, other languages important regionally.

Mali

French

Bambara (Bamanakan), Arabic and numerous dialects of Dogoso, Fulfulde, Koyracini, Senoufou, and Mandinka/Malinké (Maninkakan), Tamasheq are also widely spoken.

Mauritania

Arabic

Hassaniya Arabic, Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof, French

Mauritius

English, French

Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri

Morocco

Arabic

Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy.

Mozambique

Portuguese (spoken by 27% of population as a second language)

Makhuwa, Tsonga, Lomwe, Sena, numerous other indigenous languages.

Namibia

English 7%

Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama.

Niger

French

Hausa, Djerma

Nigeria

English

Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, Ijaw, Ibibio and about 250 other indigenous languages spoken by the different ethnic groups.

Réunion

French

Creole widely used

Rwanda

Rwanda (Kinyarwanda, Bantu vernacular) French, English

Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers.

Saint Helena

English

São Tomé and Príncipe

Portuguese

Senegal

French

Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka

Seychelles

English, French

Creole

Sierra Leone

English (regular use limited to literate minority)

Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)

Somalia

Somali

Arabic, Italian, English

South Africa

11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, Pedi, Sesotho (Sotho), siSwati (Swazi), Xitsonga (Tsonga), Tswana, Tshivenda (Venda), isiXhosa, isiZulu

Sudan/South Sudan

Arabic

Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English. note: program of "Arabization" in process

Swaziland

English (government business conducted in English), siSwati

Tanzania, United Republic of

Kiswahili (Swahili), Kiunguju (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education)

Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), Gogo, Haya, Makonde, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, Sukuma, Tumbuka, many other local languages.

Togo

French (the language of commerce)

Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)

Tunisia

Arabic (and the languages of commerce)

French (commerce)

Uganda

English (used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts)

Ganda (Luganda; most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Acoli, Swahili, Arabic

Western Sahara

Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic

Zambia

English

major vernaculars: Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages.

Zimbabwe

English

Chishona (Shona), Sindebele (Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects like: Sotho and Nambya, Shangani, Venda, Chewa, Nyanja, and Tonga.

Sources: Ethnologue, ISO Country Names (ISO 3166-1), ISO Languages Names (ISO 639-1), African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) and others.


Advertisement