Kamba language

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Native toKenya, Tanzania
RegionMachakos, Kitui, Makueni, and Shimba Hills
Native speakers
3.9 million (2009 census)[1]
600,000 L2 speakers
Language codes
ISO 639-2kam
ISO 639-3Either:
kam – Kamba
dhs – Dhaiso (Thaisu)

Kamba/ˈkæmbə/,[3] or Kikamba, is a Bantu language spoken by millions of Kamba people, primarily in Kenya, as well as thousands of people in Uganda, Tanzania, and elsewhere. In Kenya, Kamba is generally spoken in four counties: Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, and Kwale. The Machakos dialect is considered the standard variety and has been used in translation. The other major dialect is Kitui.[4]

Kamba has lexical similarities to other Bantu languages such as Kikuyu, Meru, and Embu.

Dance song. Male solo. Akamba. Machakos. 1911-12.
Dance song. Machakos. Akamba. 1911-12

The Swedish National Museums of World Culture holds field recordings of kamba language made by Swedish ethnographer Gerhard Lindblom in 1911-12.[5] Lindblom used phonograph cylinders to record songs along with other means of documentation in writing and photography. He also gathered objects, and later presented his work in The Akamba in British East Africa (1916).


  1. ^ Kamba at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Dhaiso (Thaisu) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  4. ^ Yasutoshi Yukawa (1984-08-25). "On the Nature of the Accent of Kamba Nouns". Senri Ethnological Studies. 15: 131.
  5. ^ "Historier från samlingarna | Newly digitized 100-year-old recordings bring African song and dance to life". samlingar.varldskulturmuseerna.se. Retrieved 2018-06-13.


  • Mwau, John Harun (2006). Kikamba Dictionary: Kikamba-English, Kikamba-Kikamba, English-Kikamba. ISBN 9966-773-09-6.

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