Welcome to Kenya’s various ethnic groups that typically speak their mother tongues within their own communities. The two official languages, English and Swahili, are used in varying degrees of fluency for communication with other populations. English is widely spoken in commerce, schooling and government. Peri-urban and rural dwellers are less multilingual, with many in rural areas speaking only their native languages.
British English is primarily used in Kenya. Additionally, a distinct local dialect, Kenyan English, is used by some communities and individuals in the country and contains features unique to it that were derived from local Bantu languages, such as Kiswahili and Kikuyu.
It has been developing since colonization and also contains certain elements of American English. Sheng is a Kiswahili – based cant spoken in some urban areas. Primarily consisting of a mixture of Kiswahili and English, it is an example of linguistic code-switching.
There is a total of 69 languages spoken in Kenya. Most belong to two broad language families: Niger-Congo (Bantu branch) and Nilo – Saharan (Nilotic branch), spoken by the country’s Bantu and Nilotic populations, respectively. The Cushitic and Arab ethnic minorities speak languages belonging to the separate Afroasiatic family, with the Indian and European residents speaking languages from the Indo – European family.