- The Bantu languages are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu peoples throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
- As part of the Bantoid group, they are part of the Benue–Congo language family, which in turn is part of the large Niger–Congo phylum.
- The total number of Bantu languages ranges in the hundreds, depending on the definition of "language" versus "dialect", and is estimated at between 440 and 680 distinct languages. For Bantuic, Linguasphere (Part 2, Transafrican phylosector, phylozone 99) has 260 outer languages (which are equivalent to languages, inner languages being dialects). McWhorter points out, using a comparison of 16 languages from Bangi-Moi, Bangi-Ntamba, Koyo-Mboshi, Likwala-Sangha, Ngondi-Ngiri and Northern Mozambiqean, mostly from Guthrie Zone C, that many varieties are intercomprehensible.
- The total number of Bantu speakers is in the hundreds of millions, estimated around 350 million in the mid-2010s (roughly 30% of the total population of Africa or roughly 5% of world population). Bantu languages are largely spoken southeast of Cameroon, throughout Central Africa, Southeast Africa and Southern Africa. About one-sixth of the Bantu speakers, and about one-third of Bantu languages, are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone (c. 60 million speakers as of 2015). See list of Bantu peoples.
- The Bantu language with the largest total number of speakers is Swahili; however, the majority of its speakers use it as a second language (L1: c. 16 million, L2: 80 million, as of 2015).
- Other major Bantu languages include Zulu, with 27 million speakers (15.7 million L2) and Shona, with about 11 million speakers (if Manyika and Ndau are included). Ethnologue separates the largely mutually intelligible Kinyarwanda and Kirundi, which, if grouped together, have 20 million speakers.
→ 3.1 Grollemund (2012)
- Language structure
→ 4.1 Reduplication
→ 4.2 Noun class
- By country
- Geographic areas
- Bantu words popularised in western cultures
- Writing systems
- See also
- External links
See Wikipedia: Bantu Languages.
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