Kiembu

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A language of Kenya

Alternate Names
Embu
Population

429,000 (1994 I. Larsen), increasing. 150,000 in Embu, 61,700 in Mbeere (Heine and Möhlig 1980).

Location

Eastern Province, Embu district.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).

Dialects

Embu, Mbeere (Kimbeere, Mbere). Mbeere dialect reportedly has intelligibility with Embu. Population estimate may include Gichuka [cuh] and Mwimbi-Muthambi [mws]. Lexical similarity: 85% with the Mbeere dialect, 73% with Gikuyu [kik] and Gichuka [cuh], 66% with Kamba [kam], 63%–65% with Kimîîru [mer].

Language Use

Vigorous. Home, community. All ages. Positive attitudes. Some also use Gikuyu [kik], but limited in rural areas. Up to 70% have low proficiency in Kiswahili [swh]. Comprehension of Kimîîru [mer] limited.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–50%. There are government literacy materials in Kiembu.
Writing
Latin script.
Other Comments

Christian, traditional religion.