Languages of Niger
Depending on how they are counted, Niger has between 8 and 20 indigenous languages. The discrepancy comes from the fact that several are closely related, and can be grouped together or considered apart.
French, inherited from the colonial period, is the official language. It is spoken mainly as a second language by people who have received an education. Although educated Nigeriens still constitute a relatively small percentage of the population, the French language is the language used by the official administration (courts, government, etc.), the media and the business community. See also: African French.
The usual categorization of languages of Niger mentions eight national languages (Hausa, Zarma/Songhai, Fulfulde, Tamajeq, Kanuri, Arabic, Gurma, and Tebu) although statutorily there are ten. These ten national languages, their language families, the approximate percentage of the population that speak them, their approximate home regions, and additional information are as follows:
|Language||Family||Approx %||Main region||Notes|
|Hausa||Afro-Asiatic / Chadic||49.6||South, central||Main trade language|
|Zarma & Songhai||Nilo-Saharan||25.5||Southwest||Zarma and "Kaado" Songhay are considered together|
|Tamajeq||Afro-Asiatic / Berber||08.4||North|
|Fulfulde||Niger–Congo / Atlantic||08.3||All||Fulfulde of Western Niger & Central-Eastern Niger are considered together|
|Colloquial Arabic||Afro-Asiatic / Semitic||01.2||North|
|Gurma||Niger–Congo / Gur||00.?||Southwest corner|
|Buduma||Afro-Asiatic / Chadic||00.?||East|
- République du Niger, "Loi n° 2001-037 du 31 décembre 2001 fixant les modalités de promotion et de développement des langues nationales." L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde (accessed 14 October 2014)
- Ethnologue, 17th ed., Languages of Niger (accessed 14 October 2014)
- Ethnologue report on "Languages of Niger"
- PanAfriL10n page on Niger
- (French)Linguistic situation in Niger
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