Kenya

Print
Arabic, Omani Spoken
[acx] Coastal. 15,000 in Kenya (1995), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic Comments: May have come to Kenya as early as A.D. 900, originally from Yemen and Oman. Muslim.

More Information

Aweer
[bob] Coast Province, Lamu, and Tana River districts in forests; North-Eastern Province, Garissa district. 11 villages or more. Also in Somalia. 8,000 in Kenya (2007 BTL), increasing. Less than 20% monolingual. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Aweera, Bon, “Boni” (pej.), Ogoda, “Sanye” (pej.), Waboni, Wata-Bala Dialects: Lexical similarity: with Rendille [rel] of Marsabit County (most similar). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Rendille-Boni Comments: Different from Sanye [ssn] (Waat) of the Oromo Group or Dahalo [dal] (Sanye) of Southern Cushitic. Also referred to as “Sanye”, a pejorative term meaning hunter-gatherer group. Being settled in scattered villages and encouraged to switch to farming. Muslim.

More Information

Borana
[gax] Eastern Province, Marsabit, Isiolo and Moyale districts. 277,800 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. Borana: 161,000, Gabra: 89,500, Sakuye: 26,800. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Booran, Boraan, Boran, “Galla” (pej.), Oromo, Southern Oromo Dialects: Boran. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Oromo Comments: Borana is used almost exclusively in Kenya, but Oromo used in Ethiopia. Semi-nomadic. Muslim, Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Burji
[bji] Moyale, Marsabit township area. 23,700 in Kenya (2009 census). Status: 7 (Shifting). Alternate Names: Bambala Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland Comments: Brought from Ethiopia in the 1930s to build roads from Moyale to other north Kenya towns. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Chichonyi-Chidzihana-Chikauma
[coh] Coast Province, Kilifi district. 184,000 (2009 census), increasing. Chonyi 148,800, Jibana 35,200. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Chonyi, Kichonyi Dialects: Chonyi (Chichonyi, Kichonyi), Jibana (Chidzihana). May understand Kigiryama [nyf]. Kauma (Chikauma) now considered to be a dialect of Kigiryama (2012 M. Wekunda). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Nyika (E.72) Comments: 9 ethnic groups form the Mijikenda community. Christian, Muslim.

More Information

Chidigo
[dig] Coast Province, Kwale district, south of Mombasa. Also in Tanzania (Digo). 217,000 in Kenya (1994 I. Larsen), increasing. Population total all countries: 305,000. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Digo, Kidigo Dialects: Chichifundi, Chichinondo, Chigwirani. Partially intelligible with Kigiryama [nyf] but most remote from Kigiryama of the Mijikenda subgroup. Lexical similarity: 74% with Chiduruma [dug], 72% with Chichonyi [coh] and Kiswahili [swh], 71% with Kiswahili dialects Mrima and Mvita, 67% with Amu [swh], 62% with Bajun [swh], 58% with Upper Pokomo [pkb]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Nyika (E.73) Comments: 9 ethnic groups form the Mijikenda community. Moderate degree of Kiswahili [swh] and Islamic cultural influence. Digo is the tribal name. Muslim.

More Information

Chiduruma
[dug] Coast Province, West Kwale county, south of Mombasa to Tanzania border. 397,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Duruma, “Wanyika” (pej.) Dialects: 9 ethnic groups form the Mijikenda community. Chiduruma is the second least similar to Kigiryama [nyf]. Comprehension of Kiswahili [swh] and Chidigo [dig] is low. Lexical similarity: 74% with Chidigo [dig], 66% with Kiswahili [swh]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Nyika (E.72) Comments: Ethnonym: Duruma. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

More Information

Daasanach
[dsh] Eastern Province, Marsabit district, Lake Turkana northeast shore, Illeret area. 12,500 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. Over 50% monolingual. Population varies as people freely cross the Ethiopian border. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Daasanech, Dama, Dasenech, Dathanaik, Dhaasanac, Geleb, Geleba, Gheleba, Marille, Reshiat, “Shangilla” (pej.) Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Western Omo-Tana Comments: 8 ethnic groups: Inkabelo (7,000), Inkoria (2,000), Naritch (Naarich 1,800), Elele (1,500), Randal (1,000), Oro (800), Koro (500), and Riele (400). Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Dahalo
[dal] Coast Province, Lamu and Tana River districts, near Tana river mouth. 400 (1992 M. Brenzinger). Ethnic population: 3,000 (Dimmendaal and Voeltz 2007). Status: 7 (Shifting). Alternate Names: Guo Garimani, Sanye Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, South Comments: Different from Sanye [ssn] (Waata). Traditional religion.

More Information

Dawida
[dav] Coast Province, Taita district, Taita hills. 254,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Dabida, Davida, Kidabida, Kitaita, Taita, Teita Dialects: Bura, Chawia, Kasigau, Mbale, Mbololo, Mwanda, Werugha. Lexical similarity: 62% with Sagalla [tga], 46% with Gweno [gwe], 41%–44% with Chaga languages. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Nyika (E.74) Comments: Christian, traditional religion, Muslim.

More Information

Dholuo
[luo] Nyanza Province. Also in Tanzania (Luo). 4,044,000 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 4,184,000. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Kavirondo Luo, Luo, Nilotic Kavirondo Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Western, Luo, Southern, Luo-Acholi, Luo Comments: Different from Luwo [lwo] (Luo, Jur Lwo) of South Sudan. The people are Luo; the language is Dholuo. Christian, traditional religion, Muslim.

More Information

Ekegusii
[guz] Nyanza Province, Kisii district, south of Kavirondo Gulf. Also in Tanzania (Gusii). 2,205,000 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 2,205,300. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Gusii, Guzii, Kosova Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kuria (E.42) Comments: Different from Kisi [kiz] of Tanzania. Kisii is the place name. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

El Molo
[elo] Eastern Province, Marsabit district, Lake Turkana southeast shore, Elmolo bay. 8 (1994 I. Larsen), decreasing. Ethnic population: 700 (2007 BTL). Status: 8b (Nearly extinct). Alternate Names: Dehes, Elmolo, Fura-Pawa, Ldes, “Ndorobo” (pej.) Dialects: The original language is similar to Daasanach [dsh]. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Western Omo-Tana Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

English
[eng] Widespread. 24,300 in Kenya (2006), increasing. Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (2010, Constitution, Article 7(2)). Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English

More Information

Gichuka
[cuh] Eastern Province, Chuka district. 70,000 (1980 SIL), increasing. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Chuka, Chuku, Suka Dialects: Comprehension of northern Kimîîru [mer] dialects is borderline. Similar to Kitharaka [thk]. Lexical similarity: 73% with Embu [ebu], 70% with Gikuyu [kik], 67% with Kimîîru [mer], 63% with Kikamba [kam]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kikuyu-Kamba (E.541) Comments: Christian.

More Information

Gikuyu
[kik] West central, Central Province, Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri, and Kirinyaga districts. 6,623,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Gekoyo, Gigikuyu, Kikuyu Dialects: Gichugu (Northern Kirinyaga), Mathira (Karatina), Ndia (Southern Kirinyaga), Northern Gikuyu (Northern Murang’a, Nyeri), Southern Gikuyu (Kiambu, Southern Murang’a). Lexical similarity: 73% with Kiembu [ebu], 70% with Gichuka [cuh], 67% with Kikamba [kam], 63% with Kimîîru [mer]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kikuyu-Kamba (E.51) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Gujarati
[guj] Mostly in Nairobi. 50,000 in Kenya (1995 SIL). Status: 5 (Developing). Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Gujarati Comments: Most lived in Kenya for several generations. Hindu, Jain, Muslim.

More Information

Kalenjin
[kln] Population total all countries: 5,123,400. Comments: Member languages are: Keiyo [eyo], Kipsigis [sgc], Markweeta [enb], Nandi [niq], Okiek [oki], Pökoot [pko], Sabaot [spy], Terik [tec], Tugen [tuy]

More Information

Kamba
[kam] South central, Eastern Province, Machakos and Kitui districts; Coast Province, Kwale district. 3,893,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Kekamba, Kikamba Dialects: Masaku, Mumoni, North Kitui, South Kitui. Lexical similarity: 67% with Gikuyu [kik], 66% with Embu [ebu], 63% with Chuka [cuh], 57%–59% with Kimîîru [mer]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kikuyu-Kamba (E.55) Comments: Ethnic autonym: Akamba; the place: Ukambani. Christian, traditional religion, Muslim.

More Information

Keiyo
[eyo] Rift Valley Province, Elgeyo Marakwet district. 314,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Elgeyo, Keyo Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Kalenjin, Nandi-Markweta, Nandi

More Information

Kenyan Sign Language
[xki] 32 primary schools for the deaf in Hola, Kapsabet, Karatina, Karen, Kerugoya, Kilifi, Kisumu, Kitui, Kwale, Meru, Mombasa, Mumias, Murang’a, Nairobi, Nakuru, North Kinangop, Ruiru, Sakwa. 340,000 (2007 DOOR), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: KSL Dialects: Mainly unrelated to other sign languages. Standardized with slight variations since 1961, when primary schools for deaf children began. Deaf in Kisumu (western Kenya) and deaf in Mombasa (eastern Kenya) understand each other even with dialect differences. Uganda and Tanzania deaf do not really understand KSL, though they have much in common. Classification: Deaf sign language Comments: 4 churches in Nairobi: 2 use Exact Signed English, 1 a mixture of that and KSL, the other uses a mixture of Korean [kvk], American [ase], and Kenyan sign languages. Communication with those who do not know KSL is superficial only. KSL fits Kenyan culture and ties students back to their families and friends who know it. Manual alphabet used for spelling.

More Information

Kiembu
[ebu] Eastern Province, Embu district. 429,000 (1994 I. Larsen), increasing. 150,000 in Embu, 61,700 in Mbeere (Heine and Möhlig 1980). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Embu 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]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kikuyu-Kamba (E.52) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Kigiryama
[nyf] Coast Province, Kilifi and Kwale districts, north of Mombasa. 944,000 (2009 census), increasing. 752,000 Giryama; 25,400 Kambe; 98,700 Rabai; 14,500 Ribe; 52,900 Kauma. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Agiryama, Giriama, Kigiriama, Kinyika, Nika, Nyika Dialects: Chwaka, Giryama, Kambe, Kauma (Chikauma), Rabai, Ribe (Rihe). Dialect speakers may understand Chichonyi-Chidzihana-Chikauma [coh]. Lexical similarity: 72% with Chidigo [dig], 63% with Mrima [swh], 62% with Mvita [swh], 61% with Amu [swh], 59% with Kipfokomo [pkb] and Bajun [swh]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Nyika (E.72) Comments: Giryama is the people name and largest group of the Mijikenda community, which is formed by 9 ethnic groups. Strong traditional social system. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

More Information

Kimîîru
[mer] Eastern Province, Meru district, northeast of Mt. Kenya. 1,658,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Kimeru, Meru Dialects: Igembe, Igoji, Imenti, Meru (Beik), Miutini, Tigania. Lexical similarity: 85% with dialects Imenti and Tigania, 67% with Chuka [cuh], 63% with Embu [ebu] and Gikuyu [kik], 57% with Kamba [kam]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kikuyu-Kamba (E.53) Comments: ‘Mero’ is not a correct spelling. Different from Meru [rwk] of Tanzania. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

More Information

Kipfokomo
[pkb] Coast Province, Tana River district, Upper and Lower Tana river. 95,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Kipokomo, Lower Pokomo, Malachini, Pfokomo, Upper Pokomo Dialects: Buu I, Buu II, Buu III, Dzunza, Gwano, Kalindi, Kinakomba, Kulesa, Malalulu, Mwina, Ndera, Ndura, Ngatana, Zubaki. Lexical similarity: 63% with Mvita [swh], 61% with Amu [swh], 60% with Mrima [swh], 59% with Kigiryama [nyf], 58% with Chidigo [dig], 57% with Bajun [swh]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Nyika (E.71) Comments: Muslim.

More Information

Kipsigis
[sgc] Rift Valley Province, Uasin Gishu and Nandi districts. 1,916,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Kipsiikis, Kipsikiis, Kipsikis Dialects: Similar to Nandi [niq]. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Kalenjin, Nandi-Markweta, Kipsigis

More Information

Kiswahili
[swh] Coast Province. 131,000 in Kenya, increasing. 66,000 Bajuni (1994 I. Larsen), 6,000 Siyu, 3,000 Pate, 15,000 Amu, 25,000–30,000 Mvita, 13,900 Shirazi (1989 census), 2,000 Vumba (Heine and Möhlig 1980). Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (2010, Constitution, Article 7(2)). Alternate Names: Arab-Swahili, Kisuahili, Kiswaheli, Suahili, Swahili Dialects: Amu, Bajuni (Bajun, Chimbalazi, Gunya, Mbalazi, Tikulu, T’ik’uu, Tukulu), Mvita (Kimvita, Mombasa), Pemba (Hadimu, Phemba, Tambatu). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, G, Swahili (G.42) Comments: Bajuni most divergent. Bajuni and Pemba dialects may be separate languages. Muslim.

More Information

Kitharaka
[thk] Eastern Province, Tharaka district, south Meru district, some in Mwingi district. 175,905 (2009 census), increasing. Less than 35% monolinguals. Some Tharaka live outside their homeland. Ethnic population: 150,000. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Saraka, Sharoka, Tharaka Dialects: Gatue (North Tharaka), Igoki, Ntugi (Central Tharaka), Thagicu. Thagicu dialect has extensive Kamba [kam] borrowings. Gatue is influential. Difficult intelligibility of northern Kimîîru [mer] dialects. Some Meru words have offensive meanings in Kitharaka. Lexical similarity: with Chuka [cuh]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kikuyu-Kamba (E.54) Comments: Attitudes changing. People now view their language as important. Tharaka is place name. Ethnonym: Atharaka. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Kiwilwana
[mlk] Coast Province, Tana River district, Tana River north of Pokomo, between Bura and Garissa. 16,800 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Ilwana, “Malakote” (pej.) Dialects: Not intelligible with Kipfokomo Pokomo [pkb]. Lexical similarity: 55%–57% with Kipfokomo [pkb]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Nyika (E.701) Comments: Cushitic influence. Muslim.

More Information

Konkani, Goan
[gom] Nairobi. 3,900 in Kenya (1987). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Goan, “Goanese” (pej.), Gomataki, Konknni Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Southern zone, Konkani Comments: Christian.

More Information

Kuria
[kuj] Nyanza Province, Kuria district. 260,000 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Ekiguria, Igikuria, Kikuria, Kurya Dialects: Bugumbe, Bukira, Bwirege, Kiroba, Nyabasi, Sweta. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kuria (E.43) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Lubukusu
[bxk] Western Province, Bungoma, Mt. Elgon, Trans Nzia, and Malava and Lugari districts. 1,433,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Bukusu Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.31) Comments: Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Luidakho-Luisukha-Lutirichi
[ida] Western Province, Kakamega district. 598,000 (2009 census), increasing. Idakho 171,000; Isukha 217,000; Tiriki 210,000 (2009 census). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Idakho-Isukha-Tiriki Dialects: Idakho (Idaxo, Itakho), Isukha (Isuxa, Lwisukha), Tiriki. High comprehension of Lulogooli [rag], but resist each other’s pronunciation. Lexical similarity: 70% with Logooli [rag], 52% with Masaba [myx] (Uganda) and Oluluyia [luy]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.411) Comments: Christian.

More Information

Lukabaras
[lkb] Western Province, Lugari and Kakamega districts. 253,000 (2009 census). Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Kabras Dialects: Similar to Lutachoni [lts]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.31)

More Information

Lulogooli
[rag] Western Province, Vihiga district. Also in Tanzania (Logooli). 618,000 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 618,300. Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Llogole, Llugule, Logooli, Lugooli, Luragoli, Maragoli, Maragooli, Ragoli, Uluragooli Dialects: Lexical similarity: 70%–80% with Idakho-Isukha-Tiriki [ida]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.41) Comments: ‘Mulogoli’ is a person from Maragoli.

More Information

Lutachoni
[lts] Western Province, Lugari and Bungoma districts. 253,000 (2009 census). Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Tachoni, Tatsoni Dialects: Similar to Lukabaras [lkb]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.31)

More Information

Maasai
[mas] Rift Valley Province, Kajiado and Narok districts. Also in Tanzania. 842,000 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 1,297,000. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Masai Dialects: Arusa (Arusha), Damat, Iloodokilani, Kaputiei, Keekonyokie, Kisonko, Kore, Laitokitok, Loitai, Matapo, Moitanik (Wuasinkishu), Parakuyo (Baraguyu, Kwavi), Purko, Siria. Arusha is distinct from Bantu Chaga-related variety. Reportedly Arusha, who are pastoralists, dress like Maasai and speak a Maasai-related variety; whereas, agriculturalists intermarry with the Chaga. Other sources say the Arusha originally spoke a Bantu language. Lexical similarity: 82%–86% between Kenya and Tanzania dialects. Purko has 91%–96% lexical similarity with other Kenya dialects, 82% with Baraguyu, 86% with Arusa, 77%–89% with Samburu [saq], 82%–89% with Chamus [saq], 60% with Ngasa [nsg] (Ongamo). Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Eastern, Lotuxo-Teso, Lotuxo-Maa, Ongamo-Maa Comments: Seminomadic. Purko is the largest dialect in Kenya and centrally located. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Markweeta
[enb] Rift Valley Province, Elgeyo Marakwet district. 180,000 (2009 census). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Endo, Endo-Marakwet, Marakuet Dialects: Endo (Northern Markweeta), Sambirir (Southern Markweeta). Low intelligibility of major Kalenjin dialects. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Kalenjin, Nandi-Markweta, Markweta Comments: Marakweeta encompasses all speakers scattered among the so-called Endo-Sambirir and Talai. They do not see these region names as dialects. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Mwimbi-Muthambi
[mws] Eastern Province, Central Meru district. 70,000 (1980 SIL). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Dialects: Muthambi, Mwimbi (Kimwimbi). People may be able to use Kimîîru [mer] literature. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kikuyu-Kamba (E.531) Comments: Christian.

More Information

Nandi
[niq] Rift Valley Province, Uasin Gishu and Nandi districts. 949,000 (2009 census). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Cemual, Naandi Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Kalenjin, Nandi-Markweta, Nandi

More Information

Nubi
[kcn] Kibera, outside Nairobi. 15,500 in Kenya (2009 census). 3,000 to 6,000 in Kibera. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Kinubi, Ki-Nubi Classification: Creole, Arabic based Comments: Settled in Kenya by the British. A few being assimilated. Muslim.

More Information

Nyala
[nle] Western Province, Lake Victoria area, Kakamega. 273,000 (2009 census). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: East Dialects: East Nyala, West Nyala. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.32)

More Information

Okiek
[oki] Rift Valley Province, Nakuru district, east Mau escarpment. Sogoo dialect in Mau forest south between Amala and Ewas Ng’iro rivers near Nosogami stream. Also in Tanzania. 79,000 in Kenya (2009 census). Ethnic population: 20,000. Status: 7 (Shifting). Alternate Names: Akie, Akiek, Kinare, “Ndorobo” (pej.), Ogiek Dialects: Okiek, Sogoo (Sokoo), Suiei. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Kalenjin, Okiek Comments: “Ndorobo” is a pejorative term for several hunter or forest groups that are not linguistically related (El Molo, Yaaku, Okiek, Omotik, Aasáx). Christian.

More Information

Olukhayo
[lko] Western Province, Busia district. 125,000 (2009 census). Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Khayo, Xaayo Dialects: Similar to Olumarachi [lri]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.341)

More Information

Oluluyia
[luy] Population total all countries: 5,199,727. Comments: Member languages are: Lubukusu [bxk], Luidakho-Luisukha-Lutirichi [ida], Lukabaras [lkb], Lulogooli [rag], Lutachoni [lts], Nyala [nle], Olukhayo [lko], Olumarachi [lri], Olumarama [lrm], Olunyole [nyd], Olushisa [lks], Olutsotso [lto], Oluwanga [lwg], Saamia [lsm] (Uganda)

More Information

Olumarachi
[lri] Western Province, Busia district. 155,000 (2009 census). Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Marachi Dialects: Similar to Olukhayo [lko]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.342)

More Information

Olumarama
[lrm] Western Province, Butere-Mumias district. 152,427 (2009 census). Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Marama Dialects: Similar to Oluwanga [lwg]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.32)

More Information

Olunyole
[nyd] Western Province, Kakamega district, above Kavirondo gulf. 311,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Lunyole, Lunyore, Nyole, Nyoole, Nyore, Olunyore Dialects: Lexical similarity: 61% with Nyole [nuj] of Uganda. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.33) Comments: Christian.

More Information

Olusamia
[lsm] 125,000 in Kenya (2009 census). Status: 4 (Educational). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.34)

More Information

Olushisa
[lks] Western Province, Butere-Mumias district. 137,000 (2009 census). Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Kisa Dialects: Similar to Olumarama [lrm]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.32)

More Information

Olutsotso
[lto] Western Province, Kakamega district. 122,000 (2009 census). Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Tsotso Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.32)

More Information

Oluwanga
[lwg] Western Province, Butere-Mumias district. 309,000 (2009 census). Status: 4 (Educational). Alternate Names: Hanga, Kawanga, Luhanga, Oluhanga, Wanga Dialects: Similar to Olumarama [lrm]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Masaba-Luyia (E.32)

More Information

Omotik
[omt] Rift Valley Province, Narok district, Lemek area. 50 (1980). Ethnic population: 200 or more (2000). Status: 8a (Moribund). Alternate Names: Laamoot, “Ndorobo” (pej.), Omotic Dialects: Suiei. Lexical similarity: 60% with Kalenjin [kln], 50% with Datooga [tcc]. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Tatoga Comments: “Ndorobo” is a pejorative cover term for several small hunter or forest groups, that are not linguistically related (El Molo [elo], Yaaku [muu], and Okiek [oki]). Traditional religion.

More Information

Orma
[orc] North Eastern and Coast provinces, Garissa and Tana River districts. 66,300 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Uardai, Wadai, Warday Dialects: Munyo (Korokoro, Munyo Yaya), Orma, Waata (Sanye). Distinct from Borana [gax]. Munyo Yaya is an ethnic group who speak a dialect of Orma. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Oromo Comments: Muslim.

More Information

Panjabi, Eastern
[pan] Nairobi. 10,000 in Kenya (1995 SIL), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Gurmukhi, Gurumukhi, Punjabi Dialects: Panjabi Proper. Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Panjabi Comments: Most came to Kenya to build the railroad in early 20th century. Sikh, Hindu, Muslim.

More Information

Pökoot
[pko] Rift Valley Province, Baringo and West Pokot districts. Also in Uganda. 633,000 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 703,400. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Pakot, Pökot, Suk Dialects: East Pokot, West Pokot. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Kalenjin, Pokot Comments: Seminomadic. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Rendille
[rel] Eastern Province, Marsabit district, between Lake Turkana and Marsabit mountain. 60,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Randile, Rendile Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Rendille-Boni Comments: Nomadic. Ariaal Rendille people live in interdependent relationship with Samburu and speak Samburu [saq]. Traditional religion, Muslim, Christian.

More Information

Sabaot
[spy] Western Province, Bungoma county, Mount Elgon and Cheptais districts; Rift Valley Province, Trans-Nzoia county, Trans-Nzoia and Kwanza districts. 241,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: “Mt. Elgon Maasai” (pej.), Sebei Dialects: Bong’omeek (Bong’om, Pong’om), Book (Bok, Pok), Koony (Kony), Mosoop, Sabiiny, Soomeek. Related to Kupsapiiny [kpz] of Uganda. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Kalenjin, Elgon Comments: Example of language revitalization. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Sagalla
[tga] Coast Province, Taita district, Taita hills, Sagala hill slopes. 100,000 (1992 UBS). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Kisagala, Kisagalla, Sagala, Saghala, Teri Dialects: Dambi, Gimba, Kishamba, Mugange, Teri. Lexical similarity: 62% with Dawida [dav]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Nyika (E.74) Comments: Distinct from Sagala [sbm] of Tanzania. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

More Information

Samburu
[saq] Samburu district, Lake Baringo south and east shores; Rift Valley Province (Chamus), Baringo district. 237,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Burkeneji, E Lokop, Lokop, Nkutuk, Sambur, Sampur Dialects: Chamus (Ilcamus, Njemps). Lexical similarity: 94%–88% with the Chamus dialect, 89%–77% with Maasai [mas], 59% with Ngasa [nsg] (Ongamo), 82% between Chamus and Maasai [mas]. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Eastern, Lotuxo-Teso, Lotuxo-Maa, Ongamo-Maa Comments: Nomadic. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Singa
[sgm] Rusinga island. No remaining speakers. Status: 10 (Extinct). Alternate Names: Logang, Lusinga Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, J, Nyoro-Ganda (E.406)

More Information

Somali
[som] Northeastern Province, Wajir area. 2,386,222 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. 45,100 Somali; 58,200 Hawiyah; 516,000 Degodia; 622,000 Ogaden (2009 census). Status: 5 (Dispersed). Alternate Names: Standard Somali Dialects: Degodia, Ogaden, Wardei. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Somali Comments: Daarood, Dir, Hawiye, and Ogaadeen are nomadic clan families in Kenya. Dialect differences cut across clan differences. Muslim.

More Information

Suba
[sxb] Lake Victoria east shore; Mfangano and Rusinga islands. 139,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Luo AbaSuba Dialects: EgiSuba, Suba. Most similar to Suba-Simbiti [ssc]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kuria (E.43)

More Information

Taveta
[tvs] Coast Province, Taita district, Taveta area; some in Tanzania. 21,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Kitaveta, Kitubeta, Tubeta Dialects: Closely related to Asu [asa] in Tanzania. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, G, Shambala (G.21) Comments: Christian.

More Information

Terik
[tec] Rift Valley Province, Uasin Gishu and Nandi districts. 601,000 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Nyang’ori Dialects: Similar to Nandi [niq]. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Kalenjin, Nandi-Markweta, Nandi

More Information

Teso
[teo] Western Province, Teso district. 339,000 in Kenya (2009 census), increasing. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Dialects: Orom (Rom). Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Eastern, Lotuxo-Teso, Teso-Turkana, Teso Comments: Ethnonym: Ateso. Christian, traditional religion.

More Information

Tugen
[tuy] Baringo district north of Nakuru town. 140,000 (2009 census), increasing. Samor 5,480; Arror 25,100. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Dialects: People may not be able to use other Kalenjin [kln] literature. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Southern, Kalenjin, Nandi-Markweta, Nandi Comments: Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Turkana
[tuv] Rift Valley Province, Turkana, Samburu, Trans-Nzoia, Laikipia, Isiolo districts, west and south of Lake Turkana; Turkwel and Kerio rivers. 989,000 (2009 census). Over 60% monolingual. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Buma, Bume, Turkwana Dialects: Northern Turkana, Southern Turkana. Inherently intelligible of Toposa [toq] speakers, but hostile to them. Also partially intelligible of Ng’aKarimojong [kdj], Jie [kdj], and Nyangatom [nnj], but all 5 are ethnically distinct. A few phonological, lexical, and discourse marker differences between them. Northern Turkana [tuv] and Eastern Toposa [toq] are more similar to Southern Turkana [tuv], but Western Toposa [toq] is further apart linguistically. The 4 varieties form a subgroup divided in the middle by the Kenya-Sudan border. Lexical similarity: 85% similarity with Ng’aKarimojong [kdj], 76% with Teso [teo]. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Eastern, Lotuxo-Teso, Teso-Turkana, Turkana Comments: A few Somali and Gikuyu have shops in the area. Semi-nomadic. Unfriendly to other nomadic tribes due to rivalry over livestock. Traditional religion, Christian.

More Information

Waata
[ssn] Coast Province, Lamu district, lower Tana river. 12,600 (2009 census), increasing. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Ariangulu, Langulo, Sanya, Sanye, Waat, Wasanye Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Oromo Comments: Maintaining their language in spite of economic change and pressure from other languages. Distinct language from Dahalo [dal] (Sanye) or Boni [bob]. Muslim, Christian.

More Information

Yaaku
[muu] Laikipia district, Mukogodo division, Mukogodo forest west of Doldol, foothills north of Mount Kenya. 50 (1983). Ethnic population: 250 (1983). Status: 8a (Moribund). Alternate Names: Mogogodo, Mukogodo, Mukoquodo, “Ndorobo” (pej.), “Ntorobo” (pej.), Siegu, Yaakua, Yiaku Dialects: Palaung, Shwe. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Yaaku Comments: “Ndorobo” is a pejorative cover term for several hunter or forest groups that are not linguistically related (El Molo [elo], Yaaku [muu], Okiek [oki], Omotik [omt]). Mukogodo is a place name. Christian.

More Information