African languages

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This is a page to gather useful information about African languages in Wikimedia projects, in order to increase the number of writers on the continent itself. Specifically African languages with many speakers, but not many writers, so excluding French, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and Afrikaans, which have fairly active Wikipedias already.

Si tu veux tu peux écrire en français ici, soit on traduira les phrases en anglais, soit on créera une traduction en français.

The term African languages refers to the approximately 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.

Generally, books are expensive in Africa. Many languages have a purely oral tradition. Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects are an excellent way to improve the situation of African languages.

Would you be willing to help develop the presence of African languages on Wikipedia and Wiktionary? That is, to help set up Wikipedias in African languages, and to accelerate the process of adding words to the Wiktionaries.

Your knowledge[edit]

In which languages are you able to write? Also, since you're studying, you might know more people who are interested in a project like this.

  • Guaka:
    • basic knowledge of Bambara
    • in possession of Bambara-French, French-Bambara dictionary
    • English, German, French, Dutch, little Spanish
    • currently in Mali
  • moyogo:
    • learning Lingala
    • in possession of French-Bangala-Lingala dictionary, three Lingala teaching books and a Lingala dictionary
    • French, English, little Dutch, intermediary Spanish
  • Inisheer:
    • learning kinyarwanda
    • english-kinyarwanda (tiny) dictionnary, one teaching book
    • French, English, German, little Spanish
    • currently in Switzerland
  • A12n 14:59, 21 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Jagwar grrr... 16:29, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
    • Malagasy as native language.
    • Malagasy language dictionary : Rakibolana Malagasy, 1985 Ed. ; online Malagasy language dictionaries
    • French (fluent), English (fluent), Spanish.
    • Currently in Paris (France).

Wikipedias set up[edit]

Active[edit]

A list with all african language Wikipedias and up to date article numbers: see here. The table lists article counts spanning several months.

Language April 2011 (Number of articles) November 2011 (Number of articles) June 2012 (Number of articles) July 2014 (Number of articles)
Afrikaans (af) 17,000 20,000 23,040 32,161
Akan (ak) 67 144 158 286
Amharic (am) 7000 11,317 11,654 16,109
Bamanankan (bm) 378 386 385 403
Chi Chewa (ny) 129 133 140 216
ChiShona (sn) 107 279 1,027 2,075
ChiTumbuka (tum) 128 147 151 174
Ɛʋɛ (ee) 256 280 291 298
Fulfulde (ff) 114 131 150 210
Gĩkũyũ or Kikuyu (ki) 111 115 198 359
Haussa (ha) 263 270 274 1,389
Igbo (ig) 668 686 692 1,008
isiZulu (zu) 225 256 558 676
Kikongo (kg) 596 622 679 878
Kinyarwanda (rw) 1,798 1,805 1,808 1,832
Kirundi (rn) 177 189 183 429
Kiswahili or Swahili (sw) 21,000 22,310 24,054 26,496
Lingala (ln) 1,600 1,792 1,828 2,080
Malagasy (mg) 3,213 4,050 37,840 47,147
Malti (mt) 2,803 2,923 3,003 3,088
Sesotho (st) 120 132 145 197
Setswana (tn) 112 251 491 509
Soomaali (so) 1,800 2,249 2,408 3,658
Tigrinya (ti) 249 254 257 270
Twi (tw) 65 125 142 516
Wolof (wo) 1,000 1,109 1,117 1,143
Xhosa (xh) 118 125 139 337
Xitsonga (ts) 188 192 241 303
Yoruba (yo) 12,000 29,652 30,008 30,949

Closed (and in incubator)[edit]

Incubator[edit]

Deleted[edit]

Words in Wiktionary[edit]

Bamanankan[edit]

Dogon[edit]

Kinyarwanda[edit]

Lingala[edit]

Swahili[edit]

Hausa[edit]

Yoruba[edit]

Songhay[edit]

Number of speakers[edit]

List of major African languages (by total number of speakers)
name number of speakers (millions)
Swahili (Southeast Africa) 5-10 native + 80 secondary
Maghrebi Arabic 80
Egyptian Arabic 76
Hausa (West Africa) 40 native + 15 secondary
Oromo (East Africa) 30-35
Yoruba (West Africa) 25
Amharic (East Africa) 25
Sudanese Arabic 19
Somali (Somalia) 15
Ibibio (Ibibio/Annang/Efik, Nigeria) 8-12
Igbo (Nigeria) 10-16
Fula (West Africa) 10-16
Malagasy (Madagascar) 17
Zulu (South Africa) 10
Afrikaans (South Africa) 10
Chichewa (East Africa) 9
Akan 9
Shona 7
Xhosa (South Africa) 8
Kinyarwanda (Rwanda) 7
Kongo 7
Tigrinya 7
Tshiluba (Congo) 6
Wolof 3 native + 3 secondary
Gikuyu (Kenya) 5
Kalenjin (Kenya) 8
More (West Africa) 5
Kirundi (Central Africa) 5
Sotho (South Africa) 5
Luhya (Kenya) 4
Tswana (Southern Africa) 4
Kanuri (West Africa) 4
Umbundu (Angola) 4
Northern Sotho (South Africa) 4
(there are lots of missing languages with smaller communities, and the estimations above may be very inaccurate)
Total number of people in this table about 538
Total number of people in Africa about 900

External links[edit]

See also[edit]