List of 15 "core languages" of Subsaharan Africa

This is one of 5 lists of major African languages reviewed in 2006
for revising the list of Major Languages on this wiki.

In two articles, Prof. Kwesi Kwaa Prah, director of CASAS, proposes that 12-15 "core language" clusters are spoken by 75-85 percent of Africans as a first or additional language. The two articles are:

  • "Going Native: Language of Instruction for Education, Development and African Emancipation." In B. Brock-Utne, Z. Desai and M. Qorro (eds). Language of Instruction in Tanzania and South Africa (LOITASA). E & D Limited, Dar-es-Salaam, 2003.
  • "Language, Neo-colonialism, and the African Development Challenge." TRIcontinental, No. 150, 2002.

These core languages are indicated below, with links to appropriate pages in the Major Languages listing.

13 core languages spoken by about 75% of Africans

Prah (2002) indicates 12 core languages, but later (2003) adds the Somali/Rendile/Oromo/Borana cluster. His spellings from 2002 are retained here with a couple of exceptions and minor modifications:

Several other core languages

Prah (2002; 2003) indicates several other important language clusters. Addition of these to the above then covers tongues spoken by 85% of Africans as a first or additional language:

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