The Republic of Kenya is a country belonging to Africa, whose capital is Nairobi. It has a population of 50 million inhabitants (28th) and an area of 580,367 km 2 (48th). Its human development index is medium (142º) and its official currency is the Kenyan shilling. But what language is spoken in Kenya?
What language do they speak in Kenya?
Kenya has two official languages:
- Swahili, spoken by 37.1% of the population.
- English , which is spoken by 18.8% of the inhabitants.
Both languages serve as the lingua franca throughout the country.
While in rural areas most of the population only speaks their native language, in cities people often speak more than one language. In Kenya there are up to 67 living languages, 60 of them being indigenous. Most of them belong to two families: Niger-Congolese (Bantu languages) and Nilo-Saharan (Nilotic languages).
Regardless of official languages, the most widely spoken languages are Kikuyu (22%), Luya (14%), Luo (13%), Kalenji (12%), Kamba (11%), Gusii (6%) and meru (6%).
The English language
English (English ) is spoken by 19% of the population. It is widely used in commerce, in education (as a means of instruction), and by government. It has its origin in the heritage of British colonialism in the country. Almost all English speakers are found in cities and, above all, in the capital Nairobi. It is also used in court proceedings.
Swahili (Kiswahili) is a Bantu language, and it is the most widely spoken in the country, although most speak it as a second language (only 0.7% are natives, an ethnic group that lives on the coast). Although it was originally written in the Arabic alphabet, today it is written in the Latin alphabet. Swahili is a compulsory subject in schools up to secondary education.
Share which languages are spoken in Kenya.