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How many different African languages exist?

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Quick Answer

There are approximately 1,500 to 2,000 different African languages, as of 2015, claims NationsOnline. African languages fall into smaller sub-categories, such as Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, Creole and Indo-European languages. Some unclassified languages include Irimba, Mawa, Rer Bare and Kujarge. Different African countries share the same national language, such as the use of Swahili in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Sesotho in Lesotho and South Africa, and Arabic in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

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Full Answer

Afro-Asiatic languages are common in the Northern parts of Africa and the Horn of Africa. There are approximately 375 Afro-Asiatic languages spoken by more than 350 million people in Africa. Nilo-Saharan languages are widely spoken in Egypt, Northern Tanzania, Sudan, and some parts of Congo. They include languages such as Luo, Dinka, Maasai and Kanuri.

The Niger-Congo language group is the largest language group in Africa, which includes languages such as Yoruba, Igbo, Ashanti and Ewe. Austronesian languages mostly originate outside of the African continent, such as the Malagasy language from Madagascar. The Indo-European language group consists of the Afrikaans, which is spoken throughout Southern Africa. Some common languages under the Creole language group include the Krio from Sierra Leone, Nubi from Kenya and Uganda, and Sango from the Central African Republic.

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