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]

The table lists article counts at several different times from several sources (see notes below table):

Language Sep. 2006 Dec. 2008 April 2011 Nov. 2011 June 2012 Sep. 2013 July 2014 June 2015 Jan. 2016
Afrikaans (af) 11,285 17,000 20,000 23,040 26,752 32,161 35,856 38,354
Akan (ak) 8 67 144 158 286 252
Amharic (am) 437 3,251 7,000 11,317 11,654 12,360 16,109 12,950 13,017
Bamanankan (bm) 128 378 386 385 403 358
Chi Chewa (ny) 129 133 140 216 160
ChiShona (sn) 37 107 279 1,027 1,421 2,075 2,321 2,455
ChiTumbuka (tum) 15 128 147 151 174 439
Egyptian Arabic (arz) 12,440 14,648
Ɛʋɛ (ee) 256 280 291 298 317
Fulfulde (ff) 14 114 131 150 210 182
Gĩkũyũ or Kikuyu (ki) 111 115 198 359 741
Hausa (ha) 14 263 270 274 1,389 1,345 1,356
Igbo (ig) 11 668 686 692 1,008 1,019 1,045
isiZulu (zu) 76 182 225 256 558 579 676 683 696
Kabyle (kab) 1,503 2,296 2,507
Kikongo (kg) 142 596 622 679 878 1,116
Kinyarwanda (rw) 34 1,798 1,805 1,808 1,817 1,832 1,780 1,784
Kirundi (rn) 11 177 189 183 429 487
Kiswahili or Swahili (sw) 1,584 7,807 21,000 22,310 24,054 25,265 26,496 29,127 31,616
Lingala (ln) 217 1,074 1,600 1,792 1,828 2,025 2,080 2,062 2,112
Luganda (lg) 709
Malagasy (mg) 3,213 4,050 37,840 45,361 47,147 79,329 81,138
Northern Sotho (nso) 301 685 1,000 2,773
Oromo (om) 682
Sango (sg) 240
Sesotho (st) 37 68 120 132 145 188 197 223 293
Setswana (tn) 18 102 112 251 491 495 509 503 503
Soomaali (so) 32 1,800 2,249 2,408 3,646 3,658 3,785
Swati (ss) 146 364 410 412
Tigrinya (ti) 249 254 257 270 160
Twi (tw) 15 65 125 142 516 559
Venda (ve) 120 204 151 189
Wolof (wo) 226 1,000 1,109 1,117 1,161 1,143 1,023 1,042
Xhosa (xh) 29 109 118 125 139 148 337 356 460
Xitsonga (ts) 150 188 192 241 240 303 266 281
Yoruba (yo) 55 6,246 12,000 29,652 30,008 30,585 30,949 31,068 31,135

Notes:

Closed (and in incubator)[edit]

Incubator[edit]

A number of African languages are listed in the incubator, most without substantive content. Some Wikipedia incubatees that do have a number of pages include:

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]