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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Africa is a deep ocean of language diversity

There are thousands of languages spoken in Africa; over 2,000 in fact. The top 10 most spoken languages in Africa in order are; Arabic, Kiswahili (Swahili), Hausa, English, Amharic, French, Oromo, Yoruba, Igbo and Zulu.

Learn African Languages

Below is a list of African countries and their languages complied by the World Factbook. 

Every language is a temple, in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

African Country         Languages Spoken


Algeria
Arabic (official), French (lingua franca), Berber dialects: Kabylie Berber (Tamazight), Chaouia Berber (Tachawit), Mzab Berber, Tuareg Berber (Tamahaq)
Angola
Portuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages
Benin
French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
Botswana
Setswana 78.2%, Kalanga 7.9%, Sekgalagadi 2.8%, English (official) 2.1%, other 8.6%, unspecified 0.4% (2001 census)
Burkina Faso
French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
Burundi
Kirundi 29.7% (official), Kirundi and other language 9.1%, French (official) and French and other language 0.3%, Swahili and Swahili and other language 0.2% (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area), English and English and other language 0.06%, more than 2 languages 3.7%, unspecified 56.9% (2008 est.)
Cabo Verde
Portuguese (official), Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)
Cameroon
24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
Central African Republic
French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages
Chad
French (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects
Comoros
Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Congo, Republic of the
French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)
Cote d'Ivoire
French (official), 60 native dialects of which Dioula is the most widely spoken
Djibouti
French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar
Egypt
Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
Equatorial Guinea
Spanish (official) 67.6%, other (includes French (official), Fang, Bubi) 32.4% (1994 census)
Eritrea
Tigrinya (official), Arabic (official), English (official), Tigre, Kunama, Afar, other Cushitic languages
Ethiopia
Oromo (official working language in the State of Oromiya) 33.8%, Amharic (official national language) 29.3%, Somali (official working language of the State of Sumale) 6.2%, Tigrigna (Tigrinya) (official working language of the State of Tigray) 5.9%, Sidamo 4%, Wolaytta 2.2%, Gurage 2%, Afar (official working language of the State of Afar) 1.7%, Hadiyya 1.7%, Gamo 1.5%, Gedeo 1.3%, Opuuo 1.2%, Kafa 1.1%, other 8.1%, English (major foreign language taught in schools), Arabic (2007 est.)
Gabon
French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
Gambia, The
English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
Ghana
Asante 14.8%, Ewe 12.7%, Fante 9.9%, Boron (Brong) 4.6%, Dagomba 4.3%, Dangme 4.3%, Dagarte (Dagaba) 3.7%, Akyem 3.4%, Ga 3.4%, Akuapem 2.9%, other (includes English (official)) 36.1% (2000 census)
Guinea
French (official)
note: each ethnic group has its own language
Guinea-Bissau
Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
Kenya
English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
Lesotho
Sesotho (official) (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
Liberia
English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence
Libya
Arabic (official), Italian, English (all widely understood in the major cities); Berber (Nafusi, Ghadamis, Suknah, Awjilah, Tamasheq)
Madagascar
French (official), Malagasy (official), English
Malawi
English (official), Chichewa (common), Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chilomwe, Chinkhonde, Chingoni, Chisena, Chitonga, Chinyakyusa, Chilambya
Mali
French (official), Bambara 46.3%, Peul/foulfoulbe 9.4%, Dogon 7.2%, Maraka/soninke 6.4%, Malinke 5.6%, Sonrhai/djerma 5.6%, Minianka 4.3%, Tamacheq 3.5%, Senoufo 2.6%, unspecified 0.6%, other 8.5%
Mauritania
Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French, Hassaniya (a variety of Arabic)
Mauritius
Creole 86.5%, Bhojpuri 5.3%, French 4.1%, two languages 1.4%, other 2.6% (includes English, the official language, which is spoken by less than 1% of the population), unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)
Morocco
Arabic (official), Berber languages (Tamazight (official), Tachelhit, Tarifit), French (often the language of business, government, and diplomacy)
Mozambique
Emakhuwa 25.3%, Portuguese (official) 10.7%, Xichangana 10.3%, Cisena 7.5%, Elomwe 7%, Echuwabo 5.1%, other Mozambican languages 30.1%, other 4% (1997 census)
Namibia
Oshiwambo languages 48.9%, Nama/Damara 11.3%, Afrikaans 10.4% (common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population), Otjiherero languages 8.6%, Kavango languages 8.5%, Caprivi languages 4.8%, English (official) 3.4%, other African languages 2.3%, other 1.7%
Niger
French (official), Hausa, Djerma
Nigeria
English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, over 500 additional indigenous languages
Rwanda
Kinyarwanda only (official, universal Bantu vernacular) 93.2%, Kinyarwanda and other language(s) 6.2%, French (official) and other language(s) 0.1%, English (official) and other language(s) 0.1%, Swahili (or Kiswahili, used in commercial centers) 0.02%, other 0.03%, unspecified 0.3% (2002 est.)
Sao Tome and Principe
Portuguese 98.4% (official), Forro 36.2%, Cabo Verdian 8.5%, French 6.8%, Angolar 6.6%, English 4.9%, Lunguie 1%, other (including sign language) 2.4%
note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2012 est.)
Senegal
French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka
Seychelles
Seychellois Creole (official) 89.1%, English (official) 5.1%, French (official) 0.7%, other 3.8%, unspecified 1.4% (2010 est.)
Sierra Leone
English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)
Somalia
Somali (official), Arabic (official, according to the Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English
South Africa
IsiZulu (official) 22.7%, IsiXhosa (official) 16%, Afrikaans (official) 13.5%, English (official) 9.6%, Sepedi (official) 9.1%, Setswana (official) 8%, Sesotho (official) 7.6%, Xitsonga (official) 4.5%, siSwati (official) 2.5%, Tshivenda (official) 2.4%, isiNdebele (official) 2.1%, sign language 0.5%, other 1.6% (2011 est.)
South Sudan
English (official), Arabic (includes Juba and Sudanese variants), regional languages include Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Zande, Shilluk


Sudan
Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, Fur note: program of "Arabization" in process
Swaziland
English (official, used for government business), siSwati (official)
Tanzania
Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
Togo
French (official, the language of commerce), Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (sometimes spelled Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)
Tunisia
Arabic (official, one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce), Berber (Tamazight)
Uganda
English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic
Western Sahara
Standard Arabic (national), Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
Zambia
Bembe 33.4%, Nyanja 14.7%, Tonga 11.4%, Lozi 5.5%, Chewa 4.5%, Nsenga 2.9%, Tumbuka 2.5%, Lunda (North Western) 1.9%, Kaonde 1.8%, Lala 1.8%, Lamba 1.8%, English (official) 1.7%, Luvale 1.5%, Mambwe 1.3%, Namwanga 1.2%, Lenje 1.1%, Bisa 1%, other 9.2%, unspecified 0.4%
Zimbabwe
English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects


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