Languages of Kenya

Unlike many other countries, Kenya is predominantly a trilingual country, meaning that many people speak three languages. Kenyans grow up speaking their tribal language at home, which some refer to as a “vernacular” language and then they learn Swahili at their schools, which they also read on the press, listen to it on the radio, TV, songs and learn it by speaking to others. It is also referred to as the Kiswahili language, and it is considered the National language of Kenya and a Lingua Franca of East Africa. Finally English is also learnt much the same way as Swahili by Kenyans and it is considered the official language of Kenya, which means it is the language that the government of Kenya conducts business in. Vernacular languages are no longer taught at schools in Kenya.

The “vernacular” languages spoken by the 42 tribes of Kenya can be divided


Purple leaves in Nairobi

into three different language groups: The Bantu, the Nilotic and the Cushitic. The most spoken tribal language in Kenya is the Kikuyu language. The Kikuyu tribe is about 20% of the population in Kenya. Kenya’s current president, Mr. Emilio Mwai Kibakint,  is a Kikuyu.

President Obama’s father, Barack Hussein Obama Senior, was from the Luo tribe, which are a Nilotic tribe found in Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Uganda and Kenya. They speak the Dholuo language.

Copyright © 2017 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

References: Wikipedia and some Kenyans.

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