A language of Kenya

Alternate Names
Burkeneji, E Lokop, Lokop, Nkutuk, Sambur, Sampur

237,000 (2009 census), increasing. Ilchamus 27,300, Njemps 5,300 (2009 census).


Isiolo, Marsabit, and Samburu counties: Lake Turkana east towards Marsabit.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Chamus (Ilcamus, Ilchamus), 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].

Language Use

Home, social gatherings, religion. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], Swahili [swh]. Used as L2 by El Molo [elo], Rendille [rel].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: Samburu: 15%–25%, Chamus: 40%. Poetry. Radio programs. Films. Bible portions: 2012–2014.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Nomadic. There is some question as to whether Chamus (Ilchamus) is a dialect of Samburu or a separate language. Traditional religion, Christian.