` Language Hotspots - Eastern Africa
Eastern Africa (EAF)
Geographic location: Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania
Number of Languages: 215
Number of Genetic Units: 17
Genetic Index: .080
Mean Level of Endangerment: 4.22 (very low)
Mean Documentation Status:
Threat Level: low
map of EAF hotspot

Description:

This hotspot includes a large number of languages spoken by different ethnic groups. Speakers of languages with low prestige encourage their children to learn languages that will allow access to better jobs when they grow up. Documentation of these languages is very limited. Despite recent efforts to record them, 80% of Africa’s 2,000 languages have no writing system, making a total of 1,600 languages in Africa with no written form.

Omotik is a moribund language of Kenya. As of 1980, there were fewer than 50 Omotik speakers, and all of them were more than 40 years old. The Omotik people used to be hunter-gatherers but now live among the Maasai herders and have adopted the Maasai language as well as the Maasai lifestyle. Omotik children learn to speak Maasai rather than Omotik, leaving the Omotik language little chance of survival.

Genetic Units found in Hotspot (17):

  1. Bantu
  2. Berta
  3. Cushitic
  4. Eastern Jebel
  5. Gumuz
  6. Hadza
  7. Koman
  8. Kullak
  9. Kunama
  10. Nilotic
  11. Omotic
  12. Sandawe
  13. Semitic
  14. Surmic
  15. Unclassified Austroasiatic
  16. Unclassified Nilo-Saharan
  17. Mixed Language (Ma'a)

Bantu is clearly intrusive in Hotspot.

Hadza is also fringe but represents extremely old population element in Hotspot

Hotspots Formula:

List of Languages:

  1. Aari
  2. Aasax
  3. Acholi
  4. Adhola
  5. Aka
  6. Alaba
  7. Amharic
  8. Anfillo
  9. Anuak
  10. Arbore
  11. Argobba
  12. Asu
  13. Awngi
  14. Baiso
  15. Bambassi
  16. Basketo
  17. Bedawi
  18. Bembe
  19. Bench
  20. Bende
  21. Berta
  22. Birale
  23. Bondei
  24. Boni
  25. Boon
  26. Borana
  27. Boro
  28. Bukusu
  29. Burji
  30. Burun
  31. Burunge
  32. Bussa
  33. Chara
  34. Chonyi
  35. Chuka
  36. Daasanach
  37. Dabarre
  38. Dahalo
  39. Datooga
  40. Dhaiso
  41. Didinga
  42. Digo
  43. Dime
  44. Dinka
  45. Dirasha
  46. Dizi
  47. Dongotono
  48. Dorze
  49. Duruma
  50. El Molo
  51. Embu
  52. Endo
  53. Gaam
  54. Gamo-Gofa-Dawro
  55. Ganza
  56. Garre
  57. Garreh-Ajuran
  58. Gawwada
  59. Gedeo
  60. Gikuyu
  61. Giryama
  62. Gumuz
  63. Gurage Sebat Bet
  64. Gusii
  65. Gweno
  66. Gwere
  67. Ha
  68. Hadiyya
  69. Hadza
  70. Hamer-Banna
  71. Hangaza
  72. Haya
  73. Hozo
  74. Idakho-Isukha-Tiriki
  75. Ik
  76. Ikizu
  77. Ikoma
  78. Inor
  79. Iraqw
  80. Isanzu
  81. Jiddu
  82. Jita
  83. Jumjum
  84. Kabwa
  85. Kachama-Ganjule
  86. Kacipo-Balesi
  87. Kafa
  88. Kahe
  89. Kalenjin
  90. Kamba
  91. Kambaata
  92. Kara
  93. Karo
  94. Karomojong
  95. Kelo
  96. Kenyi
  97. Kerewe
  98. Kistane
  99. Komo
  100. Komso
  101. Koorete
  102. Kumam
  103. Kunama
  104. Kunfal
  105. Kupsabiny
  106. Kuria
  107. Kwama
  108. Kwaya
  109. Kwegu
  110. Langi
  111. Lango
  112. Libido
  113. Logooli
  114. Lokoya
  115. Lopit
  116. Luo
  117. Luyia
  118. Maasai
  119. Maay
  120. Mabaan
  121. Machame
  122. Majang
  123. Malakote
  124. Male
  125. Mbugu
  126. Mbugwe
  127. Me’en
  128. Melo
  129. Meru
  130. Mesqan
  131. Mochi
  132. Molo
  133. Murle
  134. Mursi
  135. Mushungulu
  136. Mwimbi-Muthambi
  137. Nara
  138. Narim
  139. Nayi
  140. Ngasa
  141. Ngulu
  142. Ngurimi
  143. Nilamba
  144. Nuer
  145. Nyala, East
  146. Nyambo
  147. Nyamwezi
  148. Nyangatom
  149. Nyaturu
  150. Nyole
  151. Nyore
  152. Okiek
  153. Omotik
  154. Opuuo
  155. Orma
  156. Oromo Borana-Arsi-Guji
  157. Oromo East
  158. Oromo, West Central
  159. Otuho
  160. Oyda
  161. Päri
  162. Pokomo, Lower
  163. Pökoot
  164. Qimant
  165. Rendille
  166. Rombo
  167. Rwa
  168. Sabaot
  169. Sagalla
  170. Samburu
  171. Sandawe
  172. Sanye
  173. Segeju
  174. Seze
  175. Shabo
  176. Shambala
  177. Shekkacho
  178. Sheko
  179. Shubi
  180. Sidamo
  181. Silt’e
  182. Sizaki
  183. Soga
  184. Somali
  185. Soo
  186. Suba
  187. Subi
  188. Sukuma
  189. Sumbwa
  190. Suri
  191. Swahili (Bajun)
  192. Taita
  193. Talai
  194. Taveta
  195. Temi
  196. Tennet
  197. Teso
  198. Tigrigna
  199. Tongwe
  200. Toposa
  201. Tsamai
  202. Tugen, Northern
  203. Tunni
  204. Turkana
  205. Uduk
  206. Vinza
  207. Vunjo
  208. Wolaytta
  209. Xamtanga
  210. Yemsa
  211. Zanaki
  212. Zay
  213. Zayse-Zergulla
  214. Zigula
  215. Zinza

Endangered Languages include:

  • Birale (20 speakers, Unclassified Afroasiatic, spoken in Ethiopia)
  • Boon (60 speakers, Cushitic, spoken in Somalia)
  • Gweno (under 100 speakers, Bantu, spoken in Tanzania)
  • Karo (200 speakers, Omotic, spoken in Ethiopia)
  • Molo (100 speakers, East Jebel, spoken in Sudan)

Some Features of Languages in Hotspot include:

  • Grammatical use of tone
  • Mild to extreme agglutination in word structure
  • Glottalization and pharyngealization

Trivia:

  • Hadza is a surprising click language: it is not part of the Khoisan family, which holds many of the click languages in Africa. Hadza is also geographically quite separate from most click languages.

Media:

Sources:

UNESCO.  Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger of Disappearing.  Online at http://www.unesco.org/webworld/babel/atlas.

Brenzinger, M.  1998.  Endangered Languages in Africa.  Köln: Köppe.