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 June 2018 April 2019
Afrikaans (af) 11,285 17,000 20,000 23,040 26,752 32,161 35,856 38,354 50,275 77,941
Akan (ak) 8 67 144 158 286 252 560
Amharic (am) 437 3,251 7,000 11,317 11,654 12,360 16,109 12,950 13,017 14,286 14,594
Bamanankan (bm) 128 378 386 385 403 358 652
Chi Chewa (ny) 129 133 140 216 160 535
ChiShona (sn) 37 107 279 1,027 1,421 2,075 2,321 2,455 3,630 4,290
ChiTumbuka (tum) 15 128 147 151 174 439 572
Egyptian Arabic (arz) 12,440 14,648 18,605 20,243
Ɛʋɛ (ee) 256 280 291 298 317 350
Fulfulde (ff) 14 114 131 150 210 182 227
Gĩkũyũ or Kikuyu (ki) 111 115 198 359 741 1,357 1,359
Hausa (ha) 14 263 270 274 1,389 1,345 1,356 1,856 3,471
Igbo (ig) 11 668 686 692 1,008 1,019 1,045 1,320 1,395
isiZulu (zu) 76 182 225 256 558 579 676 683 696 1,070
Kabyle (kab) 1,503 2,296 2,507 2,844 3,037
Kikongo (kg) 142 596 622 679 878 1,116 1,179 1,193
Kinyarwanda (rw) 34 1,798 1,805 1,808 1,817 1,832 1,780 1,784 1,823 1,821
Kirundi (rn) 11 177 189 183 429 487 609
Kiswahili or Swahili (sw) 1,584 7,807 21,000 22,310 24,054 25,265 26,496 29,127 31,616 42,773 49,593
Lingala (ln) 217 1,074 1,600 1,792 1,828 2,025 2,080 2,062 2,112 3,023 3,115
Luganda (lg) 709 1,162 1,170
Malagasy (mg) 3,213 4,050 37,840 45,361 47,147 79,329 81,138 84,996 91,644
Northern Sotho (nso) 301 685 1,000 2,773 8,050 8,019
Oromo (om) 682 776
Sango (sg) 240 255
Sesotho (st) 37 68 120 132 145 188 197 223 293 547
Setswana (tn) 18 102 112 251 491 495 509 503 503 645
Soomaali (so) 32 1,800 2,249 2,408 3,646 3,658 3,785 4,898 5,455
Swati (ss) 146 364 410 412 467
Tigrinya (ti) 249 254 257 270 160 169
Twi (tw) 15 65 125 142 516 559 651
Venda (ve) 120 204 151 189 265
Wolof (wo) 226 1,000 1,109 1,117 1,161 1,143 1,023 1,042 1,166 1,186
Xhosa (xh) 29 109 118 125 139 148 337 356 460 790
Xitsonga (ts) 150 188 192 241 240 303 266 281 586
Yoruba (yo) 55 6,246 12,000 29,652 30,008 30,585 30,949 31,068 31,135 31,672 31,879

Notes:

  • The 2006 figures, which are incomplete, come from a thread on the AfrophoneWikis list (6 Sept. 2006).
  • The "Neverness" blog is the source of the 2008 figures, and the 2013 & 2015 figures. These are also incomplete, as this blog focuses mainly on South Africa .
  • The 2016 figures were extracted manually from Wikistats - All Wikimedia Projects by Size. The 2019 figures were also extracted manually, but from the counter on the main page of each wiki.
  • The 2011, 2012 & 2014 figures were previously entered in table.

The 2018 figures are from http://www.greenman.co.za/blog/?p=2244 Data available only if >1000.

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]