Ethnologue.com home
Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Africa > Burundi

Languages of Burundi

Republic of Burundi, Republika y’Uburundi. Formerly part of Ruanda-Urundi. 7,859,000. National or official languages: French, Rundi, Swahili. Literacy rate: 14%–30%. Immigrant languages: Rwanda (900). Information mainly from J. Bendor-Samuel and Hartell 1989. Blind population: 11,000 (1982 WCE). The number of individual languages listed for Burundi is 3. Of those, all are living languages.
French

[fra] 2,200 in Burundi (2004).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, French 
More information.

Rundi

[run] 4,600,000 in Burundi (1986). Population total all countries: 4,851,000. Also in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda. Alternate names: Kirundi, Urundi.  Dialects: Ikibo, Ikirundi, Ikiragane, Igisoni, Ikinyabweru, Ikiyogoma, Ikimoso (Urumoso). Dialects Hutu and Tutsi of Rwanda [kin] are similar to Rundi. The Twa dialect is distinct, but all are inherently intelligible and also intelligible with the Kinyarwanda dialect of Rwanda.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Rwanda-Rundi (J.60) 
More information.

Swahili

[swh] 6,360 in Burundi (2000). Widelyspread in the capital. L1 in Buyenzi, Quartier asiatique, Muslim neighborhoods, and Congolese neighborhoods (probably Congo Swahili). Spoken by Muslims in other cities like Gitega. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, G, Swahili (G.40) 
More information.