A language of Kenya

Alternate Names
Aweera, Bon, “Boni” (pej.), Ogoda, “Sanye” (pej.), Waboni, Wata-Bala

8,000 in Kenya (2007 BTL), increasing. Less than 20% monolingual.


Coast Province, Lamu, and Tana River districts in forests; North-Eastern Province, Garissa district. 11 villages or more. Also in Somalia.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Lexical similarity: with Rendille [rel] of Marsabit County (most similar).

Language Use

Home, community. All ages. Positive attitudes. Some also use Somali [som], Orma [orc], or Kiswahili [swh].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1% (2007 BTL). Literacy rate in L2: 40% or less in Kiswahili or English (2007 BTL). Many suspicious of literacy as colonizing force.
Latin script.
Other 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.

Also spoken in:

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