176,000 (2009 census), increasing. 61,600 monolinguals.
Embu, Meru, and Tharaka-Nithi counties.
Older people’s dialect more prestigious due to lack of borrowings. Many now use written materials. Home, social gatherings. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng] in schools, offices. Kiswahili [swh] in churches, schools, jobs, sometimes in the home. Also use Gikuyu [kik], Kimîîru [mer].
Latin script [Latn].
Attitudes changing. People now view their language as important. Tharaka is place name. Ethnonym: Atharaka. Christian, traditional religion.