Cross-border language

A cross-border language (or crossborder language, trans-border language) is, as the terms imply, one spoken by a population across, or split by borders. Many African languages are cross-border languages.


1.1  Types of cross-border languages

Cross-border languages are among the concerns of ACALAN. First of all, it divides cross-border languages in this way (as part of its overall schema, with implications for language planning?):

  • Widely spoken cross-border languages
  • Limited cross-border languages
    • Limited symmetric cross-border languages (similar populations on both sides of a border)
    • Limited asymmetric cross-border languages (more on one side of a border than the other)

1.2  Vehicular cross-border languages

A particular focus, evidently among widely spoken cross border languages, is the category of "vehicular cross-border languages" (or cross-border vehicular languages). Forty-one (41) vehicular cross-border languages were identified at a "Synthesis Conference" (building on work of regional conferences) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 5-7 February 2009. Out of those, 12 were selected to have Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions (the five for West Africa and Southern Africa were established by 2011):

2.  Shared community languages

A UNESCO-sponsored process of discussing education in Africa in the late 1970s and early 1980s focused in part on "community languages." "Shared community language" was the term used when one of these languages was spoken in two or more countries - i.e., cross-border community language.

3.  Ethnologue

Ethnologue? as a rule titles its pages on cross-border languages as "Language of...." only one of the countries in which they are spoken.

4.  References & links

< Community language | Language terms & topics | Endangered language >