A language of Kenya

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

7,600 (2009 census), increasing. 1,600 monolinguals.


Lamu county: Indian Ocean area inland north of Lamu city; Garissa county: north and west of Mundane range; Tana River county: forests inland from Kipini city; 11 villages or more.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


None known. Lexical similarity: with Rendille [rel] of Marsabit County (most similar).

Language Use

Vigorous. Home, community. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], Orma [orc], Somali [som], Swahili [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 [Latn].

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.