5 African languages you should learn

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Learning Languages has become crucial in nowadays lives with a more competitive job market having 2 or more languages can help to land a job. The Internet is plenty of advice for learning non-African languages. What are the African languages that you should learn?

1° Swahili

Spoken in more than 15 African countries including Rwanda, the most recent one Swahili or Kiswahili is the second most popularly spoken language on the Continent. This is a Bantu language that is spoken as the first language among the Swahili people of East Africa. It is estimated that speakers of Swahili language in Africa are more than 400 million, but only about 15 million speak it as a first language. Kiswahili is the national language in Tanzania, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Shikomor, which is the official language of Comoros, is considered a dialect of Kiswahili as the two languages are closely related. The Swahili language has its origins along the coastal lines of Kenya and Tanzania. A huge chunk of the vocabulary in Swahili is derived from the Arabic language as a result of the interactions of the Arabic traders and the coastal people of East Africa from the 15th and 16th century. There are also other Swahili words that have been originally derived from German, Portuguese, English, Hindustani and French. The language is recognized and spoken in many countries on the continent including Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda and Burundi, Somalia, and the Comoro Islands.

Resources to learn the language: 

Duolingo Swahili
Memerise Swahili
Rosetta Stone Swahili

2° Arabic

Is arabic an African languages?

Don’t get me wrong! Arabic root is not an African language, but the language had influenced so many African languages way before Europeans came to the continent.
Arabic is the most widely spoken language in Africa based on the number of people who speak the language. However, the language is mostly concentrated in North Africa and some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that there are more than 440 million people who speak Arabic as their first language in Africa, making it the most prominent language on the continent. Thus, Arabic speakers on the Continent of Africa make up to 62% of the total speakers of Arabic in the world. Arabic is the official language of many African nations including Algeria, Comoros, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. It is also worth noting that most of the countries that speak Arabic in Africa are have Islam as the majority religion.

Resources to learn the language:
Stanford University’s Arabic Department site
Duolingo Egyptian Arabic March 2018
Italki Arabic teachers
Memrise Levantine Arabic
Talk in Arabic

3° Hausa

Hausa is the third largest language on the African Continent. It is classified as a member of the Chadic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. Hausa is the most widely spoken as a first language in Nigeria and as a second language in Nigeria as well as many other West African Countries. There are more than 70 million speakers of the Hausa language in Africa. Most Hausa speakers live in Northern Nigeria and the Southern Republic of Niger. The language is also popular in Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo as well as Chad. The language originated from a dialect in Kano, Nigeria, where most of the Hausa speakers are located. It is widely used in business and education in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. Besides, it is one of the few African countries that are taught in International Universities due to its immense literature.

Hau Chadic language is spoken in Nigeria and Niger by a whopping 39 million people. It’s also spoken by plenty of other people in West Africa, and in fact, Hausa serves as a lingua franca for Muslim populations in this region. It’s widely understood, so it’ll get you pretty far in West Africa! Hausa is written in both the Arabic script and the Latin alphabet. However, the Latin alphabet, called Boko, tends to be the primary script used these days among Hausa speakers. Hausa is a tonal language, but don’t let that put you off. Each of the five vowels (a, e, i, o, u) can either have a high or low pitch. While these tones may be marked in learning materials that use Latin text, everyday writing does not use any diacritics.

Resources to learn the language: 

Learn101 Hausa
Teach Yourself Hausa
Transparent Hausa


4° Amharic

This is the fifth most widely spoken languages in Africa. It is the second largest Semitic dialect on the continent after Arabic. It is the official language in Ethiopia, with more than 25 million native speakers, and is spoken outside Ethiopia by about 3 million emigrants. Amharic is one of the very few African languages that uses its own alphabet, while most other languages use either Arabic or Latin letters. The Amharic language is also associated with the Rastafarian movement common in the Caribbean. Many Rastafarians also learn Amharic as a second language, as they consider it to be a sacred language. Many popular Jamaican reggae artists such as Ras Michael, Lincoln Thompson and Misty-in-Roots have composed and sang several of their songs in Amharic, thus bringing the language to a new audience in the Caribbean.

Resources to learn the language:
Australia’s SBS Amharic stream here
Amharic Teacher


5° Omoro

The Oromo language is Cushitic language widely spoken in the Horn of Africa and other surrounding nations including Ethiopia, Somali, Kenya, and Egypt. The Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and account for up to 40% of the entire population.


Resources to learn the language:
Learn 101 Omoro
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