Languages of Niger

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Distribution map of the national languages of Niger

Niger has 11 official languages, with French being the official language and Hausa the most spoken language. 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 55.4% South, central Main trade language[3]
Songhai Songhay languages 21% Southwest Zarma and "Kaado" Songhay are considered together
Tamasheq Afro-Asiatic / Berber 9.3% North
Fulfulde Niger–Congo / Atlantic 8.5% All Fulfulde of Western Niger & Central-Eastern Niger are considered together
Kanuri Nilo-Saharan 4.7% Southeast
Arabic Afro-Asiatic / Semitic 0.4% Southeast Particularly spoken by the Diffa Arabs mainly in the Diffa Region
Gourmanchéma Niger–Congo / Gur 0.4% Southwest corner Spoken mainly by the Gurma people of southwest Niger
Tebu Nilo-Saharan 0.4% East Spoken mainly by the Toubou people of Eastern Niger
Other N/A 0.1% Throughout Any other languages

See also[edit]


External links[edit]