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 639-2kamba
ISO 639-3Either:
kam – Kamba
dhs – Dhaiso (Thaisu)

Kamba/ˈkæmbə/[4], or Kikamba, is a Bantu language that is spoken by the Kamba people of Kenya. It is also spoken by 5,000 people in Tanzania (Thaisu).

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

In Kenya, Kamba is generally spoken in four counties: Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, and Kwale. The Machakos variety is considered the standard variety and has been used in translation.

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. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kamba (Kenya)". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  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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