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Encyclopedia > African languages
Map showing the distribution of African language families and some major African languages. Afro-Asiatic extends from the Sahel to Southwest Asia. Niger-Congo is divided to show the size of the Bantu sub-family.
Map showing the distribution of African language families and some major African languages. Afro-Asiatic extends from the Sahel to Southwest Asia. Niger-Congo is divided to show the size of the Bantu sub-family.
Official languages
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Official languages

There are an estimated 1800 languages spoken in Africa. Some African languages, such as Swahili, Hausa, and Yoruba, are spoken by millions of people. Others, such as Laal, Shabo, and Dahalo, are spoken by a few hundred or fewer. In addition, Africa has a wide variety of sign languages, many of whose genetic classification has yet to be worked out. Several African languages are also whistled for special purposes. Download high resolution version (600x657, 48 KB)Map showing the distribution of African language families and some major African languages. ... Download high resolution version (600x657, 48 KB)Map showing the distribution of African language families and some major African languages. ... Map showing the distribution of Afro-Asiatic languages The Afro-Asiatic languages are a language family of about 240 languages and 285 million people widespread throughout North Africa, East Africa, the Sahel, and Southwest Asia. ... The location of Sahel in Africa The Sahel (from Arabic ساحل, sahil, shore, border or coast of the Sahara desert) is the boundary zone in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the more fertile region to the south, known as the Sudan (not to be confused with the country... Southwest Asia (PDF) Southwest Asia (often confused with the Middle East) is the southwestern portion of Asia. ... Map showing the distribution of Niger-Congo languages The Niger-Congo languages constitute one of the worlds major language families, and Africas largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers, and number of distinct languages. ... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (dull yellow) vs. ... Image File history File links Official_LanguagesMap-Africa. ... Image File history File links Official_LanguagesMap-Africa. ... A satellite composite image of Africa Africa is the worlds second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. ... This article is about the language. ... Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 24 million people, and as a second language by about 15 million more. ... Yoruba (native name Yorùbá) is a dialect continuum of sub-Saharan Africa. ... The Laal language is a still-unclassified language spoken by 749 people (as of 2000) in three villages in the Moyen-Chari prefecture of Chad on opposite banks of the Chari River, called Gori (lá), Damtar (ɓual), and Mailao. ... Shabo (also called Mikeyir) is an endangered language spoken by less than 1,000 hunter-gatherers in southwestern Ethiopia, in the south-central portion of the former Illubabor province. ... Dahalo is an endangered South Cushitic language spoken by about 400 people in Kenya. ... A sign language (also signed language) is a language which uses manual communication instead of sound to convey meaning - simultaneously combining handshapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to fluidly express a speakers thoughts. ... Whistled languages are spoken languages conveyed through the medium of whistling. ...


The abundant linguistic diversity of many African countries has made language policy an extremely important issue in the neo-colonial era. In recent years, African countries have become increasingly aware of the value of their linguistic inheritance. Language policies that are being developed nowadays are mostly aimed at multilingualism. For example, all African languages are considered official languages of the African Union (AU). 2006 has been declared by AU as the "Year of African Languages". [1] Many countries have a language policy designed to favour or discourage the use of a particular language or set of languages. ... The term multilingualism can refer to rather different phenomena. ... Anthem: Let us all unite and celebrate together Official languages The African languages, as well as Arabic, Swahili, English, French and Portuguese Some member states have other official languages. ...

Contents


Language families

Most African languages belong to one of four language families: Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, and Khoisan. A handful of languages associated with the continent are Indo-European or Austronesian, however, their presence dates to less than 500 and 1000 years ago, respectively, and their closest linguistic relatives are primarily non-African. In addition, African languages include several unclassified languages, and of course sign languages. Current distribution of Human Language Families Most languages are known to belong to language families (families hereforth). ... Map showing the distribution of Afro-Asiatic languages The Afro-Asiatic languages are a language family of about 240 languages and 285 million people widespread throughout North Africa, East Africa, the Sahel, and Southwest Asia. ... Map showing the distribution of the Nilo-Saharan languages. ... Map showing the distribution of Niger-Congo languages The Niger-Congo languages constitute one of the worlds major language families, and Africas largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers, and number of distinct languages. ... Map showing the distribution of the Khoi-San languages. ... The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred languages and dialects (443 according to the SIL estimate), including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many in Southwest Asia, Central Asia and Southern Asia. ... The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia. ... Unclassified languages are languages whose genetic affiliation has not been established, mostly due to lack of reliable data. ... A sign language (also signed language) is a language which uses gestures instead of sound to convey meaning - combining handshapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, facial expressions and lip-patterns. ...


Afro-Asiatic

Main article: Afro-Asiatic languages Map showing the distribution of Afro-Asiatic languages The Afro-Asiatic languages are a language family of about 240 languages and 285 million people widespread throughout North Africa, East Africa, the Sahel, and Southwest Asia. ...


Formerly known as Hamito-Semitic languages, Afro-Asiatic languages are spoken in large parts of North Africa, East Africa, and Southwest Asia. The Afro-Asiatic language family comprises approximately 240 languages spoken by 285 million people. The main subfamilies of Afro-Asiatic are the Semitic languages, the Cushitic languages, Berber, and the Chadic languages. The Semitic languages are the only branch of Afro-Asiatic based outside of Africa. The Semitic, Berber and Egyptian branches are predominantly (though by no means exclusively) spoken by Caucasoid people, while Cushitic, Chadic, and Omotic are spoken by black Africans. North Africa is a region generally considered to include: Algeria Egypt Libya Mauritania Morocco Sudan Tunisia Western Sahara The Azores, Canary Islands, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Madeira are sometimes considered to be a part of North Africa. ... East Africa is a region generally considered to include: Djibouti Eritrea Ethiopia Kenya Somalia Tanzania Uganda Burundi, Rwanda, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Sudan are sometimes considered a part of East Africa. ... Southwest Asia (PDF) Southwest Asia (often confused with the Middle East) is the southwestern portion of Asia. ... 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ... The Cushitic languages are a subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic languages phylum, named after the Biblical figure Cush by analogy with Semitic. ... The Berber languages (or Tamazight) are a group of closely related languages mainly spoken in Morocco and Algeria. ... The Chadic languages are a language family spoken across Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, belonging to the Afro-Asiatic languages phylum; their best-known member is Hausa, the lingua franca of much of West Africa. ... Typical Caucasoid Skull Caucasoid is a racial classification usually used as part of a system also including Australoid, Mongoloid, Negroid, and sometimes others such as Capoid. ... The term Blacks is often used in the West to denote race for persons whose progenitors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Sub-Saharan Africa. ...


Some of the most widely spoken Afro-Asiatic languages include Arabic (Semitic), Oromo (Cushitic), and Hausa (Chadic). Of all the world's surviving language families, Afro-Asiatic has the longest written history, since both Ancient Egyptian and Akkadian are members. Arabic (; , less formally, ) is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ... The Oromo language, also known as Afaan Oromo or Oromifaa, is an Afro-Asiatic language, and the most widely spoken of the Cushitic sub-phylum. ... Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 24 million people, and as a second language by about 15 million more. ... Ebers Papyrus detailing treatment of asthma. ... Akkadian (lišānum akkadītum) was a Semitic language (part of the greater Afro-Asiatic language famaily) spoken in ancient Mesopotamia, particularly by the Assyrians and Babylonians. ...


Nilo-Saharan

Main article: Nilo-Saharan languages Map showing the distribution of the Nilo-Saharan languages. ...


The Nilo-Saharan languages are a group of languages mainly spoken in Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and northern Tanzania. The family consists of more than a hundred languages spoken by 30 million people. Some of the better known Nilo-Saharan languages include Turkana (Kenya), Maasai (Kenya and Tanzania), Kanuri (Nigeria) and Songhay (Mali). Most Nilo-Saharan languages are tonal. The Turkana language is the language of the Turkana people of Kenya. ... Maasai is an Eastern Nilotic language spoken in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania by the Maasai people, numbering about 900,000. ... Kanuri is a Nilo-Saharan language which is spoken by about 4 million people in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. ... The Songhay languages are a group of closely related languages/dialects centered on the Niger river, widely used as a lingua franca, particularly thanks to the medieval Songhay Empire. ...


Nilo-Saharan is an extremely diverse and quite controversial family. The Kadu languages were formerly grouped with the Kordofanian languages, but are nowadays often considered part of the Nilo-Saharan family. The Nilotic languages, having expanded substantially with the Nilotic peoples in recent centuries, are a geographically widespread language family and have a large population. Kadu Languages Western (Tulishi, Keiga, Kanga) Central (Miri, Kadugli, Katcha, Tumma) Eastern (Krongo, Tumtum) See also Nilo-Saharan languages ... The Nilotic languages are a group of Eastern Sudanic languages spoken across a wide area between southern Sudan and Tanzania by the Nilotic peoples, particularly associated with cattle-herding. ... Nilotic refers to a number of indigenous East African peoples originating in northeast Africa in the region of the Nile River. ...


Niger-Congo

Main article: Niger-Congo languages Map showing the distribution of Niger-Congo languages The Niger-Congo languages constitute one of the worlds major language families, and Africas largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers, and number of distinct languages. ...


The Niger-Congo language family is the largest group of Africa (and probably of the world) in terms of different languages. One of its salient features, still shared by most of the Niger-Congo languages, is the noun class system. The vast majority of languages of this family is tonal. The Bantu family comprises a major branch of Niger-Congo, as visualized by the distinction between Niger-Congo A and B (Bantu) on the map above. In linguistics, grammatical genders, also called noun classes, are classes of nouns reflected in the behavior of associated words; every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be very few which belong to several classes at once. ... Tone refers to the use of pitch in language to distinguish words. ... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (dull yellow) vs. ...


The Niger-Kordofanian language family, joining Niger-Congo with the Kordofanian languages of south-central Sudan, was proposed in 1950s by Joseph Greenberg. It is common today for linguists to use "Niger-Congo" to refer to this entire family, including Kordofanian as a subfamily. One reason for this is that it is not clear whether Kordofanian was the first branch to diverge from rest of Niger-Congo. Mandé has been claimed to be equally or more divergent. The Niger-Kordofanian language family was proposed by Joseph H. Greenberg in his 1966 book Languages of Africa. ... Several Kordofanian languages are spoken in the Nuba hills of Kordofan, in Sudan. ... Joseph Harold Greenberg (May 28, 1915–May 7, 2001) was a prominent and controversial linguist, known for his work in both language classification and typology. ... Mandé is the name of an ethnic group or nation, as well as a group of languages which are spoken in several countries in West Africa, including Mandinka, Soninke, Bambara, Dioula, Kagoro, Bozo, Mendé, Yacouba, and Vai. ...


Niger-Congo is generally accepted by linguists, though a few question the inclusion of Kordofanian or Mandé.


Khoi-San

Main article: Khoi-San languages Map showing the distribution of the Khoi-San languages. ...


The Khoi-San languages number about 50, and are spoken by about 120,000 people. They are found mainly in Namibia, Botswana, and Angola. Two distant languages usually considered Khoi-San are Sandawe and Hadza of Tanzania. Many linguists regard the Khoi-San phylum as a yet unproven hypothesis. Sandawe is a tonal language spoken in the Dodoma region of Tanzania. ... Hadza is a language of Tanzania. ...


A striking — and nearly unique — characteristic of the Khoi-San languages is their use of click consonants. Some neighbouring Bantu languages (notably Xhosa and Zulu) have adapted some "click" sounds from the Khoi-San languages, as has the Cushitic language Dahalo; but only a single language, the Australian ritual language Damin, is reported to use clicks without being a result of Khoi-San influence. All of the Khoi-San languages are tonal. Clicks are stops produced with two articulatory closures in the oral cavity. ... Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. ... Zulu (isiZulu in Zulu), is a language of the Zulu people with about 9 million speakers, the vast majority (over 95%) of whom live in South Africa. ... The Cushitic languages are a subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic languages phylum, named after the Biblical figure Cush by analogy with Semitic. ... Dahalo is an endangered South Cushitic language spoken by about 400 people in Kenya. ... A secret language spoken in the Gulf of Carpentaria used in mens initiation rites. ... Tone refers to the use of pitch in language to distinguish words. ...


Non-African families

The above are families indigenous to Africa. Several African languages belong to non-African families: Malagasy, the most common language of Madagascar, is an Austronesian language, and Afrikaans is Indo-European, as is the lexifier of most African creoles. Since the colonial era, European languages like Portuguese, English and French (African French) are also found on the African continent, as are Indian languages such as Gujarati. Other Indo-European languages have also been heard in various parts of the continent in earlier historical times, such as Old Persian and Greek (in Egypt), Latin (in North Africa), and Modern Persian (in settlements along the Indian Ocean). The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia. ... Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia with smaller numbers of speakers in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia. ... The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred languages and dialects (443 according to the SIL estimate), including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many in Southwest Asia, Central Asia and Southern Asia. ... // A creole language, or just creole, is a well-defined and stable language that originated from a non-trivial combination of two or more languages, typically with many distinctive features that are not inherited from either parent. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... French in Africa is present and spoken by many people. ... Gujarati (ગુજરાતી GujarātÄ«; also sometimes Gujrati) is one of the 22 official language and 14 regional languages spoken in India. ... See Aryan Language or Old Persian For more information visit: *[Ancient Iranian Languages & Literature The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS) ... Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Persian (فارسی), also known as Farsi (local name), Parsi (older local name, but still used by some speakers), Tajik (a Central Asian dialect) or Dari (an Afghan dialect), is a language spoken in Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. ...


Creole languages

Due partly to its multilingualism and its colonial past, a substantial proportion of the world's creole languages are to be found in Africa. Some are based on European languages (eg Krio from English in Sierra Leone and the very similar "Pidgin" in Cameroon and Nigeria, Upper Guinea Kriol from Portuguese in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, Seychellois Creole from French in the Seychelles, or Mauritian Creole in Mauritius); some are based on Arabic (eg Juba Arabic in the southern Sudan, or Nubi in parts of Uganda and Kenya); some are based on local languages (eg Sango, the main language of the Central African Republic.) // A creole language, or just creole, is a well-defined and stable language that originated from a non-trivial combination of two or more languages, typically with many distinctive features that are not inherited from either parent. ... Krio is a language spoken in Sierra Leone, mainly by the Krio people. ... Kriol (crioulo in Portuguese) is a language spoken by 60% of the population of Guinea-Bissau, where it is the lingua franca, and also in Senegal. ... Seychellois Creole, also known as Kreol, is the lingua franca of the Seychelles, as well as being an official language with English and French, unlike Mauritian Creole, which has no official status in Mauritius. ... Mauritian Creole is a creole language or dialect from Mauritius. ... Juba Arabic is a lingua franca spoken mainly in Southern Sudan, and in communities of people from south Sudan living in towns in Northern Sudan. ... The Nubi language (also called Ki-Nubi) is a Sudanese Arabic-based creole language spoken in Uganda around Bombo and Kenya around Kibera by the descendants of Emin Pashas Sudanese soldiers, settled there by the British. ... For other uses, see Sango (disambiguation) Sango (also spelt Sangho) is the primary language spoken in the Central African Republic: it has 5 million second-language speakers, but only 400,000 native speakers, mainly in the towns. ...


Unclassified languages

A fair number of unclassified languages are reported in Africa; many remain unclassified simply for lack of data, but among the better-investigated ones may be listed: Unclassified languages are languages whose genetic affiliation has not been established, mostly due to lack of reliable data. ...

Less well investigated ones include Bete, Bung, Kujarge, Lufu, Mpre, Oropom, and Weyto. Several of these are extinct, and adequate comparative data is thus unlikely to be forthcoming. Ongota (also known as Birale/Birayle) is a moribund language of southwest Ethiopia. ... Shabo (also called Mikeyir) is an endangered language spoken by less than 1,000 hunter-gatherers in southwestern Ethiopia, in the south-central portion of the former Illubabor province. ... The Laal language is a still-unclassified language spoken by 749 people (as of 2000) in three villages in the Moyen-Chari prefecture of Chad on opposite banks of the Chari River, called Gori (lá), Damtar (É“ual), and Mailao. ... Jalaa (autonym bàsàrə̀n dà jàlààbè̩) is an endangered language of northeastern Nigeria (Loojaa settlement in Balanga Local Government Area, Bauchi State), of uncertain (possibly Niger-Congo) origins. ... Kwadi is an extinct Khoisan language of Angola. ... The B languages are spoken in south-eastern C dIvoire. ... The Bung language is a nearly extinct language of Cameroon spoken by 3 people (in 1995) at the village of Boung on the Adamawa Plateau. ... The Kujargé language is spoken in seven villages in Chad near Jebel Mirra (11° 45 N, 22° 15 E) and in Sudan in villages scattered along the lower Wadi Salih and Wadi Azum. ... The Lufu language of Nigeria is a nearly extinct language still spoken by some elders among the 2,000-3,000 Lufu in Takum Local Government Authority, Taraba State; its speakers have mostly shifted to Jukun. ... Mpre is a language spoken or once spoken in the village of Butie in Ghana, near the confluence of the Black and White Voltas. ... Oropom (or Oworopom, Oyoropom, Oropoi) is an almost certainly extinct African language, once spoken in northeastern Uganda and northwestern Kenya between the Turkwel River, Chemorongit Mountains, and Mount Elgon, by the Oropom ethnic group. ... The Weyto language is believed to be an extinct language formerly spoken in the Lake Tana region of Ethiopia by a small group of hippopotamus hunters who now speak Amharic. ...


In addition, the placement of Kadu, Kordofanian, Hadza, and Sandawe - among others - is controversial, as discussed above. Kadu Languages Western (Tulishi, Keiga, Kanga) Central (Miri, Kadugli, Katcha, Tumma) Eastern (Krongo, Tumtum) See also Nilo-Saharan languages ... Several Kordofanian languages are spoken in the Nuba hills of Kordofan, in Sudan. ... Hadza is a language of Tanzania. ... Sandawe is a tonal language spoken in the Dodoma region of Tanzania. ...


Sign languages

Main article: African sign languages.


Many African countries have national sign languages - such as Algerian Sign Language, Tunisian Sign Language, Ethiopian Sign Language - while other sign languages are restricted to small areas or single villages, eg Adamorobe Sign Language in Ghana. Little has been published on most of these languages. Adamorobe Sign Language is an indigenous sign language used in Adamorobe, an Akan village in eastern Ghana. ...


Language in Africa

Throughout the long multilingual history of the African continent, African languages have been subject to phenomena like language contact, language expansion, language shift, and language death. A case in point is the Bantu expansion, the process of Bantu-speaking peoples expanding over most of the sub-Saharan part of Africa, thereby displacing Khoi-San speaking peoples in much of East-Africa. Another example is the Islamic expansion in the 7th century AD, marking the start of a period of profound Arabic influence in North Africa. The Bantu refer to over 400 different ethnic groups in Africa, from Cameroon to South Africa, united by a common language family, the Bantu languages, and in many cases common customs. ... Arabic (; , less formally, ) is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ...


Trade languages are another age-old phenomenon in the African linguistic landscape. Cultural and linguistic innovations spread along trade routes and languages of peoples dominant in trade developed into languages of wider communication (lingua francae). Of particular importance in this respect are Fulfulde (West Africa), Hausa (Nigeria, Niger), Lingala (Congo), Swahili (East Africa) and Arabic (North Africa). Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ... The Fula language is a language of West Africa, spoken by the Fula people from Senegal to Cameroon and Sudan. ... Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 24 million people, and as a second language by about 15 million more. ... Lingala is a Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) and a large part of the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), as well as to some degree in Angola and the Central African Republic. ... This article is about the language. ... Arabic (; , less formally, ) is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ...


After gaining independence, many African countries, in the search for national unity, elected one language to be used in government and education. In recent years, African countries have become increasingly aware of the importance of linguistic diversity. Language policies that are being developed nowadays are mostly aimed at multilingualism.


Linguistic features

The one thing African languages have in common is the fact that they are spoken in Africa. Africa does not represent some sort of natural linguistic area. Nevertheless, some linguistic features are cross-linguistically particularly common to languages spoken in Africa, whereas other features seem to be more uncommon. The hypothesis that shared traits like this would point to a common origin of African languages is highly dubious. Language contact (resulting in borrowing) and, with regard to specific idioms and phrases, a similar cultural background have been put forward to account for some of the similarities. Language contact occurs when speakers of distinct speech varieties interact. ...


Among common pan-African linguistic features are the following: certain phoneme types, such as implosives; labial-velar stops like /kp/ and /gb/ (i.e. simultaneously pronounced k plus p, etc.); initial nasal consonant clusters; clicks; and the lower high (or 'near close') vowels /ʊ/ and /ɪ/. Phoneme types that are relatively uncommon in African languages include uvular consonants, diphthongs, and front rounded vowels. Quite frequently, only one term is used for both animal and meat; additionally, the word nama or nyama for animal/meat is particularly widespread in otherwise widely divergent African languages. Widespread syntactical structures include the common use of adjectival verbs and the expression of comparison by means of a verb to surpass. Implosive consonants are plosives (rarely affricates) with a glottalic ingressive airstream mechanism. ... Labial-velar consonants are doubly articulated at the velum and the lips. ... A nasal consonant is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... Clicks are stops produced with two articulatory closures in the oral cavity. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Uvulars are consonants articulated with the back of the tongue against or near the uvula, that is, further back in the mouth than velar consonants. ... In phonetics, a diphthong (Greek and ending tongue positions. ...


Tonal languages are found throughout the world; in Africa, they are especially numerous. Both the Nilo-Saharan and the Khoi-San phyla are fully tonal. The large majority of the Niger-Congo languages is also tonal. Tonal languages are furthermore found in the Omotic, Chadic, and South & East Cushitic branches of Afro-Asiatic. The most common type of tonal system opposes two tone levels, High (H) and Low (L). Contour tones do occur, and can often be analysed as two or more tones in succession on a single syllable. Tone melodies play an important role, meaning that it is often possible to state significant generalizations by separating tone sequences ('melodies') from the segments that bear them. Tonal sandhi processes like tone spread, tone shift, and downstep and downdrift are common in African languages. Tone refers to the use of pitch in language to distinguish words. ... Tone sandhi refers to tone manipulation rules governing the pronunciation of tonal languages. ...


See also

Polyglotta Africana is a study written by Sigismund Wilhelm Koelle in 1854 in which he compared about 120 African languages (according to todays classification). ... The Languages of Africa is a seminal 1963 book of essays by Joseph Greenberg, in which he sets forth a genetic classification of African languages that, with some changes, continues to be the most commonly used one today. ... Joseph Harold Greenberg (May 28, 1915–May 7, 2001) was a prominent and controversial linguist, known for his work in both language classification and typology. ... Diedrich Hermann Westermann (June 24, 1875–May 31, 1956) was a German missionary, Africanist, and linguist. ... Malcolm Guthrie (1903-1972), professor of Bantu languages, is known primarily for his classification of Bantu languages (Guthrie 1971). ... Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek (March 8, 1827 - August 17, 1875) was a German linguist. ... Karl Richard Lepsius 1810 - 1884 Karl (or Carl) Richard Lepsius (December 23, 1810–July 10, 1884) was a pioneering Egyptologist and linguist. ... Carl Friedrich Michael Meinhof (July 23, 1857_February 11, 1944) was a German linguist. ...

References

African languages

  • Childs, G. Tucker (2003) An Introduction to African Languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamin.
  • Heine, Bernd & Derek Nurse (eds.) (2000) African languages: an introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Webb, Vic and Kembo-Sure (eds.) (1998) African Voices. An introduction to the languages and linguistics of Africa. Cape Town: Oxford University Press Southern Africa.
  • Greenberg, Joseph H. (1983) 'Some areal characteristics of African languages', in Dihoff, Ivan R. (ed.) Current Approaches to African Linguistics (vol. 1) (Publications in African Languages and Linguistics vol. 1). Dordrecht: Foris, 3-21.
  • Wedekind, Klaus (1985) 'Thoughts when drawing a map of tone languages' Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere 1, 105-24.

Language policies in Africa

  • Ellis, Stephen (ed.) (1996) Africa Now. People – Policies – Institutions. The Hague: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS).
  • Chimhundu, Herbert (2002) Language Policies in Africa. (Final report of the Intergovernmental conference on language policies in Africa) Revised version. UNESCO.

Classifications

  • Cust, Robert Needham (1883) Modern Languages of Africa.
  • Greenberg, Joseph H. (1966) The Languages of Africa (2nd ed. with additions and corrections). [Originally published as International journal of American linguistics, 29, 1, part 2 (1963)]. Bloomington: Indiana University.
  • Westermann, Diedrich H. (1952). The languages of West Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ethnologue.com's Africa: A listing of African languages and language families.

The Languages of Africa is a seminal 1963 book of essays by Joseph Greenberg, in which he sets forth a genetic classification of African languages that, with some changes, continues to be the most commonly used one today. ...

External links

  • Web resources for African languages


Languages of Africa

Languages of: Algeria | Angola | Benin | Botswana | Burkina Faso | Burundi | Cameroon | Cape Verde | Central African Republic | Chad | Comoros | Democratic Republic of the Congo | Republic of the Congo | Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) | Djibouti | Egypt | Equatorial Guinea | Eritrea | Ethiopia | Gabon | The Gambia | Ghana | Guinea | Guinea-Bissau | Kenya | Lesotho | Liberia | Libya | Madagascar | Malawi | Mali | Mauritania | Mauritius | Morocco | Mozambique | Namibia | Niger | Nigeria | Rwanda | São Tomé and Príncipe | Senegal | Seychelles | Sierra Leone | Somalia /Somaliland | South Africa | Sudan | Swaziland | Tanzania | Togo | Tunisia | Uganda | Western Sahara (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic) | Zambia | Zimbabwe The term African languages refers to the approximately 1800 languages spoken in Africa. ...

Dependencies: British Indian Ocean Territory | Canary Islands | Ceuta and Melilla | Madeira Islands | Mayotte | Réunion | Saint Helena

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