Languages of Angola
|Languages of Angola|
|National||All recognized languages of Angola are "national languages"|
|Part of a series on the|
The languages of Angola are predominantly Bantu and Portuguese, with a small minority of !Kung and Khoe speakers. About 39 languages are spoken in Angola. According to Ethnologue; there are 47 languages in Angola. 1 is extinct, and 46 are living. Out of the 46 living languages, 41 are indigenous, and 5 are non-indigenous. Additionally, 6 are institutional, 16 are developing, 19 are vigorous, and 5 are in trouble.
Portuguese is the sole official language. Due to cultural, social and political mechanisms which date back to the colonial history, the number of native Portuguese speakers is large and growing. A 2012 study by the Angolan National Institute for Statistics found that Portuguese is the mother tongue of 39% of the population. It is spoken as a second language by many more throughout the country, and younger urban generations are moving towards the dominant or exclusive use of Portuguese. The 2014 population census found that about 71% of the nearly 25.8 million inhabitants of Angola speak Portuguese at home.
In urban areas, 85% of the population declared to speak Portuguese at home in the 2014 census, against 49% in rural areas. Portuguese was quickly adopted by Angolans in mid-twentieth century as a lingua franca among the various ethnic groups. After the Angolan Civil War, many people moved to the cities where they learned Portuguese. When they returned to the countryside, more people were speaking Portuguese as a first language. The variant of the Portuguese language used in Angola is known as Angolan Portuguese. Phonetically, this variant is very similar to the Mozambican variant with some exceptions. In some respects, Angolan Portuguese resembles that of a pidgin.
However, in Cabinda, wedged between two French-speaking countries — the DRC and the Congo — many people speak French as well as, or better than, Portuguese. In fact, of the literate population, 90 percent speak French while 10 percent speak Portuguese. Also, the Angolan Bakongo who were exiled in the Democratic Republic of the Congo usually speak better French and Lingala than Portuguese and Kikongo.
West Africans speak English or French and their native African languages and are usually learning at least some Portuguese. The foreign language mostly learned by Angolans is English, but among the Bakongo (in the Northwest and Cabinda) French is often more important. English will soon be a required subject in Angolan schools. French was previously widely offered as an elective.
All native languages of Angola are considered to be national languages. After independence, the government said it would choose six to be developed as literary languages. The six languages vary between government pronouncements, but commonly included are Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo (presumably the Fiote of Cabinda), Chokwe, Kwanyama (Ovambo), and Mbunda (never clearly defined; may be Nyemba, Luchazi, or indeterminate). Angolan radio transmits in fourteen of the "main" national languages: Bangala ('Mbangala'), Chokwe, Fiote, Herero ('Helelo'), Kikongo, Kimbundu, Kwanyama, Lunda, Ngangela, Ngoya, Nyaneka, Ovambo ('Oxiwambo'), Songo, Umbundu. Some of the national languages are used in Angolan schools, including the provision of teaching materials such as books, but there is a shortage of teachers.
Umbundu is the most widely-spoken Bantu language, spoken natively by about 23 percent of the population, about 5.9 million. It is mainly spoken in the center and south of the country. Kimbundu is spoken in Luanda Province and adjacent provinces. Kikongo is spoken in the northwest, including the exclave of Cabinda. About 8.24% of Angolans use Kikongo. Fiote is spoken by about 2.9%, mainly in Cabinda. Lingala is also spoken in Angola
The San people speak languages from two families, the !Kung and Khoe, though only a few hundred speak the latter. The majority of San fled to South Africa after the end of the civil war. The extinct Kwadi language may have been distantly related to Khoe, and Kwisi is entirely unknown; their speakers were neither Khoisan nor Bantu.
|Rank||Languages||Number of speakers in Angola|
|10||Kilari||Unknown number in Angola|
|14||Kwadi||No known native speakers in Angola|
- PanAfrican L10n page on Angola
- L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde - Angola
- Ethnologue Listing of Angolan Languages
- Angola Ethnologue
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