Meru language

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For the language spoken in Tanzania and sometimes known as Meru, see West Kilimanjaro language.
Native to Kenya
Region Mount Kenya and Eastern Province
Native speakers
1.9 million  (2009 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
mer – Meru
thk – Tharaka
mws – Mwimbi-Muthambi
cuh – Cuka

Meru is the language spoken by the Meru people (Ameru) who live on the Eastern and Northern slopes of Mount Kenya, Kenya, Africa and on the Nyambene ranges. They settled in this area after centuries of migration from the north.

The Meru people are a fairly homogeneous community and all share a common ancestry. They speak the same language, Kimeru, but there are some slight regional differences, in accent and local words. The community comprises the following subdivisions; from the north to south:

  • Igembe
  • Tigania (Tiania) (culture close to neighbouring Cushitic and Nilotic communities)
  • Imenti
  • Tharaka (Saraka)
  • Igoji
  • Mwimbi–Muthambi
  • Chuka (Gicuka) (marginal intelligibility with Meru proper and with Gikuyu)

The Meru language is similar to its surrounding neighbors, the Kikuyu and Embu could have possibly adopted parts of Meru.


  1. ^ Meru at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Tharaka at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Mwimbi-Muthambi at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Cuka at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  • Rubanza, Yunus I. (2008). Kimeru: Msamiati wa Kimeru-Kiswahili-Kiingereza na Kiingereza-Kimeru-Kiswahili / Meru-Swahili-English and English-Meru-Swahili Lexicon. ISBN 9987-691-19-6.

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