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Official and Regional Languages of Africa on a Map

Can you name these 152 national and regional languages shown on the map of Africa?
Creole languages must be guessed according to their region, simply typing 'creole' will not work
Read the extensive caveats in the comments
Quiz by Jiaozira
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Last updated: January 2, 2024
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First submittedFebruary 25, 2023
Times taken6,787
Average score19.1%
Rating4.99
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=
Atlantic-Congo
 
 
 
 
 
=
Afro-Asiatic
 
 
 
 
 
=
Indo-European
 
 
 
 
 
=
Austronesian
 
 
 
 
 
=
Creole
 
 
 
 
Volta-Niger
98 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
50 mil
Yoruba
40 mil
Igbo
2.2 mil
Fon
2.0 mil
Urhobo
980 k
Idoma
800 k
Nupe
700 k
Gbagyi
600 k
Gen
550 k
Ukwuani
420 k
Isoko
 
 
 
 
Bantu
183 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
20 mil
Swahili
20 mil
Lingala
12 mil
Zulu
11 mil
Kirundi
9.8 mil
Kinyarwanda
8.7 mil
Xhosa
8.1 mil
Sukuma
7.5 mil
Shona
7.4 mil
Makhuwa
7.0 mil
Umbundu
6.5 mil
Kikongo
6.3 mil
Luba-Kasai
6.0 mil
Luganda
5.6 mil
Sotho
5.2 mil
Tswana
4.7 mil
Northern Sotho
4.1 mil
Bemba
3.7 mil
Tsonga
3.4 mil
Nkore
3.1 mil
Soga
2.5 mil
Ndebele
2.5 mil
Chokwe
2.3 mil
Swazi
1.8 mil
Lomwe
1.7 mil
Kimbundu
1.6 mil
Kalanga
1.6 mil
Sena
1.5 mil
Tonga
1.4 mil
Ovambo
1.4 mil
Makonde
1.3 mil
Venda
1.2 mil
Comorian
1.1 mil
Southern Ndebele
1.0 mil
Fang
1.0 mil
Chewa
800 k
Chaga
725 k
Lozi
640 k
Luvale
430 k
Ngangela
400 k
Lunda
250 k
Herero
240 k
Kaonde
152 k
Kwangali
140 k
Nzebi
110 k
Mbere
95 k
Mbukushu
65 k
Kgalagadi
45 k
Myene
 
 
 
 
Kwa
33 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
20 mil
Ewe
11 mil
Akan
1.0 mil
Dangme
745 k
Ga
412 k
Nzema
300 k
Gonja
 
 
 
 
Senegambian
32 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
25 mil
Fula
5.4 mil
Wolof
1.4 mil
Serer
40 k
Banyum
33 k
Noon
 
 
 
 
Gur
16 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
7.8 mil
Mossi
3.2 mil
Dagbani
1.1 mil
Dagaare
1.0 mil
Bariba
1.0 mil
Kabiyé
900 k
Gourmanché
300 k
Yom
250 k
Kasena
150 k
Tammari
 
=
Mande
 
 
 
 
 
=
Eastern Sudanic
 
 
 
 
 
=
Saharan
 
 
 
 
 
=
Songhay
 
 
 
 
 
=
Central Sudanic
 
 
 
 
Tivoid
5.0 mil speakers
 
 
 
5.0 mil
Tiv
 
 
 
 
Mel
3.0 mil speakers
 
 
 
2.5 mil
Temne
530 k
Kissi
 
 
 
 
Apkes-Edoid
2.0 mil speakers
 
 
 
2.0 mil
Edo
 
 
 
 
Zande
1.7 mil speakers
 
 
 
1.7 mil
Zande
 
 
 
 
Bak
1.1 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
510 k
Balanta
410 k
Jola
315 k
Manjak
75 k
Mankanya
 
 
 
 
Cross River
698 k speakers
 
 
 
698 k
Efik
 
 
 
 
Semitic
244 mil speakers
 
 
L1
Language
197 mil
Arabic
32 mil
Amharic
9.8 mil
Tigrinya
3.5 mil
Gurage
1.0 mil
Tigre
1.0 mil
Silt'e
70 k
Soqotri
25 k
Harari
 
 
 
 
Cushitic
67 mil speakers
 
 
L1
Language
37 mil
Oromo
21 mil
Somali
4.0 mil
Sidamo
2.5 mil
Afar
1.4 mil
Gedeo
1.3 mil
Hadiyya
 
 
 
 
Chadic
51 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
51 mil
Hausa
55 k
Yedina
 
 
 
 
Berber
24 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
23 mil
Tamazight
500 k
Tamasheq
 
 
 
 
Omotic
8.9 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
7.0 mil
Wolaytta
1.1 mil
Gamo
830 k
Kafa
 
 
 
 
Germanic
24 mil speakers
>256 mil L2
 
L1
Language
24 mil
English
40 k
German
 
 
 
 
Romance
21 mil speakers
>204 mil L2
 
L1
Language
18 mil
Portuguese
2.1 mil
Spanish
810 k
French
6.5 k
Italian
 
 
 
 
Malayo-Polynesian
25 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
25 mil
Malagasy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
=
Language isolate
 
 
 
 
 
=
Khoe-Kwadi
 
 
 
 
 
=
Koisan
 
 
 
 
 
=
Tuu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dutch-based Creole
7.2 mil speakers
 
 
L1
Language
7.2 mil
Afrikaans
 
 
 
 
Kikongo-based Creole
5.4 mil speakers
 
 
L1
Language
5.4 mil
Kituba
 
 
 
 
French-based Creole
1.2 mil speakers
 
 
L1
Language
1.1 mil
Morisien
73 k
Seychellois Creole
 
 
 
 
Portuguese-based Creole
1.2 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
871 k
Cape Verdean Creole
319 k
Guinea-Bissau Creole
70 k
Sãotomense
 
 
 
 
English-based Creole
830 k speakers
 
L1
Language
830 k
Sierra Leonean Criole
 
 
 
 
Ngbandi-based Creole
620 k speakers
 
L1
Language
620 k
Sango
 
 
 
 
Mande
19 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
5.0 mil
Maninka
4.1 mil
Bambara
2.1 mil
Soninke
2.0 mil
Dyula
1.5 mil
Mende
1.3 mil
Kpelle
1.3 mil
Mandinka
1.1 mil
Susu
590 k
Bissa
420 k
Loma
 
 
 
 
Nilotic
15 mil speakers
 
L1
Language
8.8 mil
Southern Luo
2.7 mil
Teso
1.3 mil
Dinka
890 k
Nuer
750 k
Bari
88 k
Datooga
80 k
Jur
 
 
 
 
Surmic
196 k speakers
 
L1
Speakers
196 k
Murle
 
 
 
 
Saharan
9.3 mil speakers
 
 
L1
Speakers
8.8 mil
Kanuri
580 k
Daza / Teda
 
 
 
 
Songhay
4.4 mil speakers
 
L1
Speakers
4.3 mil
Zarma
8.0 k
Tasawaq
 
 
 
 
Moru-Madi
2.4 mil speakers
 
L1
Speakers
2.4 mil
Lugbara
 
 
 
 
Ijoid
500 k speakers
 
L1
Speakers
500 k
Ijaw Languages
 
 
 
 
Dogon
450 k speakers
 
L1
Language
450 k
Dogon
 
 
 
 
Khoe-Kwadi
210 k speakers
 
 
L1
Language
210 k
Khoekhoe
 
 
 
 
Koisan
6.0 k speakers
 
L1
Language
6.0 k
Tshwa
 
 
 
 
Tuu
2.5 k speakers
 
L1
Language
2.5 k
ǃXóõ
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
+11
Level 70
Feb 25, 2023
After nearly two years, a new entry in the series approaches :D

I will try to summarise what I remembered, although I have many caveats to explain.

Like the Asian languages quiz, this quiz has some subjectivity, and I typically went for languages which are recognised by their government, especially as a national language. Few languages are recognised by regional governments in African nations.

I was met with a dilemma over languages like Swahili, which are spoken as lingua francas over a large area, primarily as a second language. Ultimately, I was lenient with the areas highlighted in the equatorial African regions (this is why the Central African Republic maintains its border shape for example). I was a little more restrictive with the European languages, and I mainly kept their borders to their respective cities.

+7
Level 70
Feb 25, 2023
Speaking of which, a big problem I faced was the question of the Creole languages. Should a Creole language, and its total of native speakers, count towards the language it is based off of or not? I generally maintained a policy of keeping them separate but it is very arbitrary especially in a dichotomy society in which, say, Mauritian Creole language is the informal language and French is the more formal language. My decision to include Afrikaans as a Creole language may also be controversial, as it is famously taught as a 'faughter language of Dutch', but I couldn't find a good reason why it wasn't one.

Additionally, I wanted to add hidden dots to help people more easily spot some of the smaller languages, but unfortunately I am out of time and I thought it better to publish the quiz as is.

I hope you enjoy! :)

+7
Level 65
Feb 25, 2023
JIAOZIRA STRIKES AGAIN! I became familiar with most of these names last summer working on a now abandoned project, so this was quite nostalgic and also made me focus the hardest I ever have on quiz, trying to retrieve memories from then lol

Can you accept Dangbe for Dangme? And I think Kimbundu and Umbundu are swapped.

Also, if you ever need a blog idea, you could go over ways to remember the languages in these quizzes, not just through mnemonics but through interesting things, this could especially be important for African languages which are so underappreciated. Amazing quiz again!

+4
Level 70
Feb 26, 2023
Thanks for playing! I'm glad to see someone else who is now familiar with these languages. This quiz was intimidating to make after the Asian languages quiz, which was by far my biggest project on Jetpunk, but I'm glad I took the plunge and made it :D

I made the changed by the way. These languages really are quite interesting and special, so I could see a blog entry featuring a number of them as something that people would enjoy. I already have graphics in the form of the flag designs after all.

+6
Level 73
Feb 25, 2023
Thank You! ive been waiting for so long and my life is finally complete, I can die in peace now
+2
Level 70
Feb 26, 2023
I'm glad I could deliver! Africa was definitely the perfect next step in the series :)
+4
Level 65
Feb 26, 2023
Jiaozira all of your language quizzes are so amazing!
+2
Level 70
Feb 26, 2023
I'm glad you're enjoying them! Thanks for playing.
+5
Level 64
Feb 27, 2023
I've been looking forward to this one! Great work as always, Jiaozira!

I was surprised not to see some languages like Kikuyu (6.6 mil), but I guess this quiz is based mainly on language status, not number of speakers.

+3
Level 70
Feb 28, 2023
Thanks for your support Damangio!

Language status is certainly key, it makes for a fun mix between big languages and small ones. However, certain countries have either very limited recognition of their minority languages, or they recognise virtually every language spoken in the country (and therefore I didn't consider them). There is more subjectivity in this quiz, as I didn't look at any legal documents for example and sources like Wikipedia are unfortunately hardly trustworthy.

As for Kenya, they only recognise Swahili, to the best of my knowledge.

+3
Level 71
Feb 28, 2023
Great job Jiaozira! As I expected when I started the quiz, I didn't get many--so many very obscure languages on here--but it was still a joy to try to guess them all, and as always it's fun seeing the relationships between languages and their families.
+4
Level 70
Feb 28, 2023
Thank you very much, JWatson :D

Truth be told, while there are some languages like Bambara and Chewa which are rarely known for holding the seats of power in their respective countries, there are still a great number of languages you could only get if you were very familiar with one of these countries (like the Senegalese languages).

I love these grandious quizzes based on official-ish status (rather than size for example), because when I'm making them I think to myself there's simply no way anyone is guessing the Noon language, hahaha.

+3
Level 57
Mar 9, 2023
OMG YES I'm so happy, I've been waiting for this
+3
Level 70
Mar 9, 2023
Happy I could deliver :)
+4
Level 72
Mar 13, 2023
It's finally here! I did notice a couple national borders are missing, however. The most notable of which being the Algeria/Niger border.
+3
Level 70
Mar 13, 2023
Fixed, thanks for letting me know! It's possible there are a couple smaller borders I didn't see that are still missing.
+4
Level 72
Mar 17, 2023
I believe the rest include:

Niger/Nigeria

Nigeria/Benin

Nigeria/Chad

Ethiopia/Sudan

Namibia/Zambia

A section of the Zambia/Zimbabwe border

Sections of the Sudan/South Sudan border

+3
Level 70
Mar 18, 2023
This is incredibly useful, thank you!
+3
Level 50
Mar 13, 2023
YESSS
+3
Level 74
Mar 14, 2023
Great quiz. I feel okay about getting 39. I've learned about a few recently from learning more about African music.
+1
Level 70
Mar 15, 2023
That sounds wonderful, music is a great way to discover a new language in my opinion :D
+5
Level 68
Mar 14, 2023
Great quiz! It's a shame that we can't nominate this quiz
+2
Level 70
Mar 15, 2023
Broadly I agree with the Quizmaster and Stewart's decision to limit nominations to more concise quizzes, but it is a shame with a quiz like this which is a continuation of a series.

In any case, when I get around to Oceania and the Americas both quizzes should be nominateable due to low answer counts. Thanks for playing :)

+3
Level 90
Mar 16, 2023
Why do you agree with that decision?
+3
Level 70
Mar 17, 2023
Personally, my favourite quizzes are medium to long quizzes which push the limits of my knowledge be the answers cities, languages, regions etc.

However, I could see that the top nominated quizzes became very centred around historical map quizzes with hundreds of answers. These quizzes were certainly high effort, but they were best appreciated by a small subset of Jetpunk users, so I can see why Quizmaster and Stewart were looking to broaden the kinds of quizzes which reach the main page.

It's certainly not perfect. Personally, I wish that we could have more Quizmaster-selected quizzes getting featured like in pre-nomination Jetpunk, but now we are typically seeing one quiz featured from the nomination board each week. I can see why it is a discouraging quiz, but the ability to spotlight the longer quizzes really mitigates most of the disappointment.

The nominations board is extremely congested after a couple years and it is very difficult to get a quiz at the top, anyways.

+3
Level 73
Mar 14, 2023
dahalik spoken in the eritrean dahlak archipelago?
+2
Level 70
Mar 15, 2023
It is an interesting language I had no idea about until today, in fact it is neat to learn that people live on these islands. However the language is not recognised by Eritrea in any way.
+2
Level 56
Mar 14, 2023
The Afrikaans issue is interesting. I've heard it said (I daresay you know more about this than I do!) that Afrikaans isn't a creole because it's too complex and too irregular. For example, I have read that all creoles are thoroughgoing subject-verb-object languages, whereas Afrikaans is subject-object-verb in subordinate clauses, like German or standard Dutch. And although it's pretty regular compared to most European languages, it still have lots of weird vagaries - for example, how you produce a plural noun is still a mystery to me, despite having spoken the language daily for several years now.

On the other hand if you believe the definition of a Creole on Wikipedia, it's so wide that Afrikaans is definitely one. But then so is English. So um...

+1
Level 70
Mar 15, 2023
Admittedly I don't have a great answer as to the exact meaning of what a Creole language is. The best description I could find was that it arises as a pidgin language which becomes adopted by a population, usually accompanied by grammatical simplification. In this case, I believe Afrikaans is only partially Creolised. All sources I could find on Afrikaans went back and forth on whether or not it was a Creole language or merely a daughter language of Dutch which developed parallel to Modern Dutch. As far as I could tell, the simplification of grammar was the only unified trait of Creole languages, as they arise from a very diverse set of parent languages, although the irregularity factor has also been used to explain why English isn't a Creole language.

It's a very interesting topic and I hope I am not speaking incorrectly in my answer, as I am still a layman in these topics.

+3
Level 72
Mar 14, 2023
I would tend to allow type-ins a bit more leniently on a quiz of this type, for example accepting Acholi for Southern Luo, or Tigray for Tigre/Tigrayit, or Ibibio for Efik. I am sure there are other examples also, but these ones came to mind.

Mostly this is just because it's often unclear whether a certain language is included as wide-spoken/official "enough". So rather than trying out alternate spellings or broader/narrower specifics, it's easy to assume "I guess that language didn't make the cut" and move on.

Overall an excellent quiz.

+2
Level 70
Mar 15, 2023
Thank you for your type-in suggestions, I added them to the quiz.

I certainly want to be lenient where I can, I tried to get all the common names I could find on Wikipedia, but Wikipedia isn't the greatest source for alternative names in particular.

+3
Level 29
Mar 27, 2023
what are the grey areas
+2
Level 70
Mar 27, 2023
The grey areas are where unrecognised languages are spoken (there are many!)
+2
Level 76
May 8, 2023
bro thought he could sneak Italian in there
+1
Level 60
Jul 6, 2023
I thought it would make it to Eritrea too.
+3
Level 44
May 24, 2023
OMG ! I've been waiting for this for so long, thank you for making this !

I mean... I sucked big time (I got like... 76 out of 152 lol) but I would've had 79 if I knew the only answers you accepted for Kabuverdianu, Kiriol and Krio were "Cape Verdean Creole", "Guinea-Bissau Creole" and "Sierra Leonean Criole" (dunno if it's a typo, but that's how you spelled it), lol.

Anyway. No pressure, just curious, are you planning on making one about the Americas ? I know it's a lot harder to do this with NorAm but Central & South American still have native populations who speak their language and many of their governments recognize them, so I was wondering if that's something you were planning on or interested in making :)

+4
Level 70
May 27, 2023
Thanks for playing! This was a highly demanded quiz, relatively speaking, and I am happy I could finally deliver :)

Kabuverdianu will now work, I had to require the specific place-names for the Creole languages, since there are so many languages called by a version of the word 'Creole'. This was a difficult decision, since colloquially everyone will call it 'Krio', not Sierra Leonean Creole.

So far I have North America down and South America in the works (slowly). My biggest problem with the Americas is the inconsistent recognition of Indigenous languages, some territories recognise no languages at all and others recognise virtually every language. This is a problem with every continent but it's most pronounced in the Americas. Regardless, it's a fun series and I can't wait to finish it off soon!

+1
Level 60
Jul 6, 2023
Adding onto this, is Criole meant to be Creole in Sierra Leonean Criole?
+1
Level 67
Jul 11, 2023
The Tshwa language is part of Khoe-kwadi
+1
Level 79
Jul 18, 2023
Is the shape for Idoma missing or intentionally not there? From the Wikipedia map, it looks like it should be between Edo and Igbo.
+2
Level 57
Oct 11, 2023
Afrikaans is not a creole. It's just another Germanic language.

Also can you accept Krio for Sierra Leonean Creole?

+3
Level 71
Oct 18, 2023
I think the flag for Datooga is wrong. It should be Tanzania, no?
+3
Level 70
Jan 2, 2024
Fixed!
+2
Level 58
Mar 29, 2024
Great quiz as always. I only got 38 so I have some work to do
+2
Level 21
Mar 29, 2024
Italian was sneaky
+1
Level 3
Apr 10, 2024
Nigerian Pidgin?
+1
Level 3
Apr 10, 2024
I got 60