A language of Kenya

Alternate Names
Embo, Embu

429,000 (1994 I. Larsen), increasing.


Eastern Province, Embu district.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


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] due to previous teaching in schools, but limited in rural areas. Comprehension of Kimîîru [mer] limited. Up to 70% have low proficiency in Kiswahili [swh]. Used as L2 by Kimîîru [mer], Mwimbi-Muthambi [mws].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–50%. There are government literacy materials in Kiembu. Bible: 2012.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Christian, traditional religion.