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in this section
Languages by region

language families:
Afro-Asiatic
Niger-Congo
Nilo-Saharan
Khoisan
Other
Niger-Congo Language Family

The most widely distributed language family is Niger-Congo. About 75% of Africans speak a language belonging to this family. It includes the Kordofanian group, which is sometimes considered to be a separate language group in its own right. The languages of the Niger-Congo family (more than 900) cover a large geographic area: from Senegal to Cape of Good Hope and, as a result of migrations, in eastern and southern Africa.
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Niger-Congo and its subgroups (Benue-Congo, Western Atlantic, Mande Voltaic, Kwa, and Adamawa- Eastern) are spoken by over 200 million people in central and southern Africa, as well as in parts of Western Africa. The Benue-Congo subgroup comprises all of the Bantu languages. Kordofanian and its subgroups are not so widely spoken and are mainly found in western Sudan.

The Bantu languages - the word Bantu means 'people' - are the most widely spoken languages of the Niger-Congo family. This is due in part to the migrations that have occurred throughout eastern and southern Africa. The Bantu languages (for example Zulu, Xhosa, Makua, Nyanja and Swahili) are spoken throughout eastern, central and southern Africa. Swahili is a major language, and is spoken so widely spoken in eastern Africa that it is considered the lingua franca.


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Bantu languages, in particular Swahili, are spoken in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, (eastern and northern), Malawi (northern), Mozambique (northern), Zambia (northern), and Somali Republic.



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