There are over 2100 and by some counts over 3000 languages spoken natively in Africa in several major language families:
- Afroasiatic (Hamito-Semitic) spread throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of the Sahel
- Nilo-Saharan is centered on Sudan and Chad (disputed validity)
- Niger–Congo (Bantu) covers West, Central, and Southeast Africa
- Khoe is concentrated in the deserts of Namibia and Botswana
- Austronesian on Madagascar.
- Indo-European on the southern tip of the continent.
There are several other small families and language isolates, as well as obscure languages that have yet to be classified. In addition, Africa has a wide variety of sign languages, many of which are language isolates.
Several African languages are whistled or drummed to communicate over long distances.
About a hundred of the languages of Africa are widely used for inter-ethnic communication. Arabic, Berber, Amharic, Somali, Oromo, Swahili, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are spoken by tens of millions of people. If clusters of up to a hundred similar languages are counted together, twelve are spoken by 75 percent, and fifteen by 85 percent, of Africans as a first or additional language.
The high linguistic diversity of many African countries (Nigeria alone has over 500 languages, one of the greatest concentrations of linguistic diversity in the world) has made language policy a vital issue in the post-colonial era. In recent years, African countries have become increasingly aware of the value of their linguistic inheritance. Language policies being developed nowadays are mostly aimed at multilingualism. For example, all African languages are considered official languages of the African Union (AU). 2006 was declared by the African Union as the "Year of African Languages". However, although many mid-sized languages are used on the radio, in newspapers, and in primary-school education, and some of the larger ones are considered national languages, only a few are official at the national level.
Other articles related to "african languages, language, languages, african":
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... Newman (born 1937) is an American linguist of great influence in the study of African languages ... He is the world’s leading authority on the Hausa language of Nigeria and on the Chadic language family ... with his wife, Roxana Ma Newman, and The Hausa Language An Encyclopedic Reference Grammar (2000) ...
... Portuguese has contributed to many languages of the Americas, although its similarity with Spanish makes it difficult to separate the influence of ... creoles contain also influences from Dutch, English, French, and various African languages ... Saramaccan spoken in Suriname English, Portuguese, African languages (20%) ...
... He rejected early 20th century theories that confused race and language, such as those advanced by the linguist Carl Meinhof and the anthropologist Charles Gabriel ... and of their interaction with the two other African stocks, the Negro and the Bushman, whether this influence was exerted by highly civilized Egyptians or…pastoralists...The incoming Hamites were pastoral 'Europeans ... archaeologists and historians re-discovered such past African achievements as Great Zimbabwe, and from the 1940s linguists started to demonstrate the flaws in the hypothesis ...
... MSU can offer instruction in 32 African languages and teaches 9-12 languages each year and intensive African languages in the summer ... Initiative, with a website that a) catalogs the 220+ "Less Commonly Taught Languages" (LCTLs) offered in the more than 120 Title VI National Resource Centers of Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin ... See also the Center's Webbook of the African Languages, a directory of description, texts, and experts for 82 important African languages ...
Famous quotes containing the words languages and/or african:
“People in places many of us never heard of, whose names we cant pronounce or even spell, are speaking up for themselves. They speak in languages we once classified as exotic but whose mastery is now essential for our diplomats and businessmen. But what they say is very much the same the world over. They want a decent standard of living. They want human dignity and a voice in their own futures. They want their children to grow up strong and healthy and free.”
—Hubert H. Humphrey (19111978)
“We live in a highly industrialized society and every member of the Black nation must be as academically and technologically developed as possible. To wage a revolution, we need competent teachers, doctors, nurses, electronics experts, chemists, biologists, physicists, political scientists, and so on and so forth. Black women sitting at home reading bedtime stories to their children are just not going to make it.”
—Frances Beale, African American feminist and civil rights activist. The Black Woman, ch. 14 (1970)