Chic African Culture Blog

Did you know?

1. No African country names begin with the letters F, H, I, J, O, P, Q, V, W, X, or Y.

2. Africa is surrounded by water but by definition Africa is not an island because Africa is a continent.

3. African tech startups raise billions of dollars annually, seven African start-ups were included in the World Economic Forum 2021 cohort of 100 Technology Pioneers.

French and English Africa's Official Languages

The Lingua franca and official language of an African country does not reflect the language used by a people. Often most people in Africa do not read, write, speak, or have fluent listening comprehension skills in the Lingua franca or official language of a country.

Vendor selling Hershey's ViVi peanut snack in Ghana.
Vendor selling Hershey's ViVi peanut snack in Ghana. 


Africa is made up of 54 multilingual countries but the Lingua Franca language of business, trade and education in Africa’s ten largest countries are French and English, not native African languages. In every African country many people are multilingual, fluent in a native language and dialect spoken at home and used in local trade at markets or small local businesses. Many people can understand a language but not speak it.

More often than not the official language of an African country does not refer to the language used by a people. For example, French is the official language in Senegal but the majority of the population speaks the African languages of Wolof, Pular, Jola, Mandinka, Serer, and Soninke.

Lingua franca (pronounced ling-wa fran-ka) is a language that is adopted or made official by a country as a common language between speakers who speak different languages. English is the international lingua franca language of the internet, business, aviation, and education.

Two billion people across the globe speak English as either a first or second language. English is the International language. English became the lingua franca due to the expansion of the British empire. English is the largest language by number of speakers. 

English is spoken by communities on every continent and on islands in all the major oceans. It is a co-official language of the United Nations, the European Union and many other world and regional international organizations. English is the lingua franca language of the internet, business, aviation, science, technology and education.

In every African country many people are multilingual, fluent in a native language and dialect spoken at home and used in local trade at markets or small local businesses. Why is French a lingua franca in Africa? Françafrique describes deeply rooted French influence and characterizes the colonial link between France and its former colonies in Africa.

French was the language of colonizers who ruled former French colonies throughout the continent of Africa. France officially maintained colonies in Africa from the 17th century majorly increasing its colonization in Africa during the 1885 Scramble for Africa campaign.

French is the official language in 19 African countries. The former French colonial territories in Africa are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Central African Republic, Togo, Mauritania, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Benin, Madagascar and Niger.


Women sorting coffee beans in Addis Ababa also known as Finfinne is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the worlds leading coffee exporter


Lingua franca and official languages of Africa’s 10 largest countries.

Algeria

Arabic (official), Berber (official), French (lingua franca)


Democratic Republic of the Congo

French (official), Lingala African language is the lingua franca of trade language.


Sudan

Arabic (official), English (official), Arabic (lingua franca)


Libya

Arabic (official) Arabic, Italian, English (lingua franca)


Chad

French (official), Arabic (official) Arabic (lingua franca)


Niger

French (official) Hausa, English, Djerma, French (lingua franca)


Angola

Portuguese (official) 

Portuguese and four African languages are the lingua franca of local trade language, they are Umbundu, Kikongo, Kimbundu, Chokwe (lingua franca)


Mali

French (official)

Bambara, French, Fula, Songhai (lingua franca)


South Africa

isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Setswana, English, Sesotho, Xitsonga, siSwati, Tshivenda, and isiNdebele all are official languages.

English (lingua franca)


Ethiopia  

Amharic African language is the lingua franca and official national language of Ethiopia.

Oromo African language is the official working language in the State of Oromiya Ethiopia. Somali official working language of the State of Sumale.

Tigrigna is the official working language of the State of Tigray.

Sidamo, Wolaytta, Gurage, Afar official working languages of the State of Afar. 

Trading beads at a local market in Senegal speaking Wolof
Trading beads at a local market in Senegal speaking the Wolof language



Did you know?
Language is a part of culture; nearly half of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world are expected to vanish in the next 100 years. In Africa, over 2,000 languages are spoken on the continent and hundreds are endangered or critically endangered.

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Africa is surrounded by water but is not an island, here are a few African Island facts.

Madagascar is the 4th large island in the world and is located in the Indian Ocean supporting a unique biology, about 90% of its plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth.

Composed of 155 islands, Seychelles is Africa's smallest country. By far the largest island is Mahe, home to about 90% of the population and the site of its capital city of Victoria.

Cabo Verde has a strategic location 310 miles or 500 km from the west coast of Africa near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site.

Africa is surrounded by water but by definition Africa is not an island because Africa is a continent. Continents can not be considered islands because of their size and also by historic definition since many people who study geography define islands and continents as two different things.

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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

Chic African Culture


Be better than average and support African history and culture. Since 2008 Chic African Culture and The African Gourmet highlight Africa through her food and culture. Contact us culture1africangourmet@gmail.com