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Jan 11, 2006

People and Languages

Written by Administrator

Girl readingBeing literate should not be a privilege.
(Zinza, Tanzania)
Languages: Approximately 130 local languages. The official languages are Swahili and English. The national language is Swahili.

Largest Ethnic Groups: Sukuma 3,200,000; Gogo 1,300,000; Makonda 1,140,000; Haya 1,200,000; Chagga 1,000,000; Ha 990,000; Nyakyusa 750,000; and Hehe 750,000.

Language Facts:

  • Swahili and English are the republic's official languages; Arabic is also spoken on Zanzibar.
  • Each language is distinct from the other; languages from the Bantu family have similar linguistic characteristics only.
  • There are approximately 130 ethnic groups.
  • There are approximately 105 Bantu languages in Tanzania.
  • Wycliffe is working in 3 non-Bantu languages.
  • Inhabitants of Indian and Arab descent constitute approximately 1% of the population and are concentrated in Zanzibar.
  • The Bantu-speaking peoples include the Sukuma (the republic's largest ethnic group), Bena, Chagga, Gogo, Ha, Haya, Hehe, Luguru, Makonde, Makua, Ngoni, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, Nyaturu and others.
  • The Masai, Luo and Datooga speak Nilotic languages.
  • The Sandawe and the Hadza speak Khoisan-related languages.
  • The Iraqw, Gorowa, Burunge and Alagwa speak Cushitic languages.
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