Chic African Culture Blog

List of African countries and languages spoken

The top 10 most spoken languages in Africa in order are; Arabic, Kiswahili (Swahili), Hausa, English, Amharic, French, Oromo, Yoruba, Igbo and Zulu.



The top 10 most spoken languages in Africa in order are; Arabic, Kiswahili (Swahili), Hausa, English, Amharic, French, Oromo, Yoruba, Igbo and Zulu.


There are thousands of languages spoken in Africa; over 2,000 in fact.
Below is a list of African countries and their languages compiled by the World Factbook. Every language is a temple, in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

List of African countries and 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)

 

Côte 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

 

The Gambia

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), 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)

Omo Valley tribes in Ethiopia
Omo Valley tribes in Ethiopia
 

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% 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

 

ESwatini Former 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 maybe 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



Did you know?
Click languages are a group of languages found only in Africa in which clicks function as normal consonants. In all click languages, clicks form only a portion, though sometimes the main portion of the total number of consonants of the language. Clicks are used extensively in the vocabulary of Khoisan languages, and they are the initial sounds in approximately 70 percent of the words.

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