A language of Kenya

Alternate Names
Embo, Embu

324,000 (2009 census), increasing.


Embu county: southeast of Mount Kenya.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


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].

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.