Languages of Niger

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Distribution map of the national languages of Niger

Niger has 11 official languages, French being the most widely spoken. 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.

Official Languages[edit]

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 (20% of Nigeriens are literate in French, and even 47% in cities, growing quickly as literacy improves[1]). 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

Niger has ten official national languages, namely Arabic, Buduma, Fulfulde, Gourmanchéma, Hausa, Kanuri, Zarma & Songhai, Tamasheq, Tassawaq, Tebu.[2] 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[3]
Songhai Songhay languages 25.5% Southwest Zarma and "Kaado" Songhay are considered together
Tamasheq Afro-Asiatic / Berber 08.4% North
Fulfulde Niger–Congo / Atlantic 08.3% All Fulfulde of Western Niger & Central-Eastern Niger are considered together
Kanuri Nilo-Saharan 04.8% Southeast
Arabic Afro-Asiatic / Semitic 01.2% North
Gourmanchéma Niger–Congo / Gur 00.? Southwest corner
Tebu Nilo-Saharan 00.? East
Buduma Afro-Asiatic / Chadic 00.? East
Tassawaq Nilo-Saharan 00.? North central

See also[edit]


External links[edit]