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Top African Languages on a Map

Can you name the African languages with the most native speakers with the help of a map?
Includes languages not native to Africa
Quiz by Jiaozira
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Last updated: July 31, 2023
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First submittedJuly 28, 2018
Times taken33,081
Average score30.0%
Rating4.92
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Pop
Language
197 m
Arabic
120 m
French
51 m
Hausa
50 m
Yoruba
44 m
Igbo
23 m
Tamazight
26 m
Oromo
25 m
Fulani
24 m
English
21 m
Amharic
20 m
Swahili
20 m
Lingala
18 m
Malagasy
18 m
Portuguese
16 m
Somali
14 m
Shona
11 m
Akan
10 m
Zulu
9.8 m
Kinyarwanda
9.7 m
Chewa
9.2 m
Luganda
8.8 m
Kirundi
8.8 m
Kanuri
8.0 m
Gikuyu
7.6 m
Mossi
Pop
Language
7.6 m
Xhosa
7.2 m
Afrikaans
7.0 m
Tigrinya
7.0 m
Wollaita
6.8 m
Luhaya
6.3 m
Luba-Kasai
6.0 m
Umbundu
5.8 m
Tswana
5.7 m
Kituba
5.6 m
Kongo
5.6 m
Sesotho
5.5 m
Sukuma
5.4 m
Wolof
5.0 m
Tiv
5.0 m
Maninka
4.6 m
Northern
Sotho
4.4 m
Nkore
4.3 m
Zarma
4.3 m
Northern
Ndebele
4.2 m
Luo
4.1 m
Bambara
4.1 m
Spanish
4.0 m
Makhuwa
4.0 m
Kamba
4.0 m
Sidamo
73 Comments
+8
Level 70
Jul 31, 2023
Updated to include languages with only over 4,000,000 speakers! The number of languages increased from 37 to 50. Some population figures may still be slightly out of date, due to a combination of difficult census data and rapidly growing populations.

Pre-colonial languages are by native speakers, while colonial language figures include all speakers.

+8
Level 66
Jul 29, 2018
This one is definitely harder than the other two. Simply because there are very few languages actually named for countries. Good Quiz!
+4
Level 76
Jul 29, 2018
Tough quiz. I don't believe that there are only 6.5M native English speakers in Africa though. I'm aware that many (most?) speak it as a second language, but it still seems incredibly low to me.
+2
Level 24
Apr 7, 2024
they don't
+1
Level 70
Apr 7, 2024
A large number of these native English speakers actually come from South Africa. There are unique English dialects spoken in other countries like in Nigeria, but most Africans speak Indigenous African languages as a mother tongue.
+3
Level 72
Mar 24, 2020
Sick quiz, but could you accept Kikongo for Kongo?
+2
Level 70
Mar 24, 2020
Cheers! That will work now.
+2
Level 51
Jul 8, 2020
Only missed Gikuyu , Tigrinya, Tshiluba, Umbundu, and Akan.
+5
Level 38
Sep 8, 2020
What about Dioula/Bambara and Wolof?
+6
Level 70
Sep 8, 2020
Wolof is certain to be added when I update this quiz to the standards of the others. I'm not sure about the others.
+1
Level 70
Jul 31, 2023
Bambara/Dioula/Jula should definitely be on the list. It has way over 10 million speakers.
+3
Level 37
Sep 10, 2020
This one is Much Harder than Asian and European, Especially Eastern and Southern Africa for me.
+1
Level 56
Sep 22, 2020
I sorta made my own version here, please tell me if you would like me to delete it.
+15
Level 70
Sep 22, 2020
No don't delete it! I don't own the right to this idea, and anyone can make what they like :)
+7
Level 56
Sep 23, 2020
Thank you! :D
+5
Level 70
Sep 23, 2020
Don't mention it. I liked the quiz!
+3
Level 76
Mar 11, 2021
Accept Fula for Fulani?
+2
Level 70
Mar 11, 2021
Sure, that will work now :)
+2
Level 74
May 12, 2021
Nominated! Great quiz!
+1
Level 70
May 12, 2021
Thank you!
+5
Level 71
Aug 22, 2021
(Maybe) accept Ashanti and/or Fante for Akan? I know the Ashanti and Fante people are technically subgroups of the Akan, but since they are the largest/most recognizable groups I think it might make sense to accept those as type-ins (though I'm not sure, so if you have a reason for not accepting those I'd be interested in hearing it).
+4
Level 70
Aug 22, 2021
Yes those will be accepted now! It does make sense, since those are different standardized versions of Akan. I've been wanting to do a larger overhaul of this quiz for almost a year now but fow now I am touching things up when they are requested :)
+1
Level 74
Aug 1, 2023
To me, Twi is the first type-in that comes to mind. In my experience, all Ghanaians refer to Akan chiefly as Twi (if not Akan). I looked it up and it seems that technically speaking, Twi refers to a dialect, but in my experience native speakers call the language twi.

Thanks for an amazing quiz!!!! :D

+2
Level 60
Apr 28, 2024
Yes, in my time living in Ghana i never heard anyone refer to the language as akan, only as twi
+2
Level 70
Nov 13, 2021
Thanks for the spotlight!
+4
Level 63
Nov 13, 2021
swazi has 2.3 million native speakers.
+2
Level 70
Nov 13, 2021
Yes, will fix soon. In my source there were a few languages which showed up, yet didn't have a number of speakers attached to them (i.e. Swazi, Ga, Afar) so they will need to be added.
+2
Level 23
Nov 27, 2021
nominated! :D
+1
Level 70
Nov 27, 2021
Thank you! :)
+3
Level 23
Jan 16, 2022
Tshiluba is better known as Luba-Kasai. Please accept Luba-Kasai!
+1
Level 70
Jan 16, 2022
Okay, I have changed the name as well.
+6
Level 23
Jan 16, 2022
Such a shame German isn't on the list - IIRC, the GDR had funded German education in socialist states like Angola, and was one of the leading Western states against Apartheid and racism.
+5
Level 70
Jan 16, 2022
According to Wikipedia 0.9% of Namibia, including 35% of white Namibians, speaks German. I assume the first figure is for L1 and the second for L1 and L2 speakers but I'm not completely sure. The list is already incomplete, so German would need a lot of traction to appear on the quiz!
+2
Level 73
Aug 2, 2023
Some preliminary research suggests modern Ostafrika has the most native German speakers, rather than Sudwestafrika, despite its lack of official recognition in Tanzania.

Regardless, I'm struggling to imagine the total for the continent exceeding a million, much less the now-required 4.

+1
Level 60
Aug 3, 2023
It's not remotely close by this table.
+5
Level 90
Jan 17, 2022
Still no Wolof?
+1
Level 70
Jan 17, 2022
No, I need to update the quiz but I've been working on some other projects at the moment.
+2
Level 64
Jan 17, 2022
Jiaozira strikes again!
+2
Level 64
Jan 18, 2022
Please accept "Ganda" for Luganda.
+1
Level 70
Jan 18, 2022
That will now work, thanks for playing!
+3
Level 36
Mar 25, 2022
Siswati(Swazi) has 2.1m speakers,why didn't you include it?
+3
Level 36
Mar 25, 2022
Siswati(Swazi) has 2.1m speakers,why didn't you include it?
+1
Level 60
Apr 3, 2022
Accept Sotho for Northern Sotho please.
+3
Level 45
May 29, 2022
Northern and southern sotho are different languages albeit somewhat similar
+2
Level 73
Aug 2, 2023
I believe they were aware of that. But it's a bit like typing "Korea" and getting South Korea lit up. Like surely that's just as close to the correct answer for North Korea?

It is not a perfect parallel though, so I'm personally a bit torn on this one.

+3
Level 70
Aug 3, 2023
I didn't look too far into the issue, so I followed suite with the other featured Jetpunk quizzes (which require you to distinguish them).
+1
Level 60
Aug 23, 2023
I'm not knowledgeable on the topic, but I assumed it was more like Macedonia for North Macedonia. I think I was thinking of Sesotho anyhow, though.
+2
Level 65
May 7, 2022
Amazing quiz! I've been doing a JetPunk language project the last few months so I appreciate these quizzes a lot more even though i already appreciated them infinitely . I found a lot more 1 Million speaker languages myself, and I also tried to use your source but it seemed to be very faulty. I also had a lot of trouble finding sources but the pages of the languages themselves were pretty reasonable :)
+1
Level 70
May 9, 2022
Originally the source was even worse since not all the languages even had the number of speakers. I believe it has been updated by someone with a (reasonably priced) Ethnologue subscription but when I update the quiz I may have to exclude all languages with under 5 million speakers. It's crazy how some languages with 2-3 million speakers can have so little information, it's like a mystery!
+2
Level 87
May 7, 2022
Great quiz...even though I did rather poorly on it lol. Nom'd!
+1
Level 70
May 9, 2022
Thank you!
+1
Level 68
Jul 23, 2022
Really fun quiz, thanks! I have done it again and again and learned the ones I didn't know. You have improved my knowledge!
+1
Level 59
Jul 23, 2022
Unsure if anyone has mentioned this yet, though maybe accept Morisyen / Morisien for Mauritian Creole?

I tried Morisyen, after it didn't work I didn't think to try Mauritian Creole, though I guess that bit is on me^^'

+1
Level 87
Jul 23, 2022
Of course, English was one of the few random languages I missed:)
+1
Level 71
Jul 31, 2023
30 correct only gives one point? Given the difficulty of this quiz, JetPunk’s scoring system is so messed up.
+2
Level 70
Jul 31, 2023
It will become more lenient with time and as more people take the quiz. Getting points is brutal when the quiz first gets featured but give it a month and the average scores will be way lower!
+2
Level 70
Aug 1, 2023
Now 28 answers correct will give you 4 points.
+2
Level 59
Jul 31, 2023
May I make a Spanish Translation?
+1
Level 70
Jul 31, 2023
Go ahead :)
+4
Level 81
Jul 31, 2023
Based quiz
+2
Level 48
Aug 1, 2023
Please correct from "Luhaya" to "Luhya". There is no language referred to as the former.
+1
Level 60
Aug 3, 2023
Thought Italian would make it on. It wasn't even close.
+2
Level 72
Aug 8, 2023
So, the two most widely spoken are not native to the continent. Interesting still, despite being aware of it. I just never realised the huge gap between Arabic/French and Hausa.
+2
Level 71
Aug 23, 2023
The source does mention the number of (estimated) native speakers of the European languages, so why not use those figures?
+1
Level 70
Aug 24, 2023
This is a good question. Actually I found that the number of native speakers given for the European languages is unreliable for a variety of reasons, and so I decided to use the L2 data.
+2
Level 68
Aug 23, 2023
Mossi is the ethnicity. The language is moré
+1
Level 67
Aug 23, 2023
14, tough one
+1
Level 40
Aug 24, 2023
How Swahili and Afrikaans get more that portuguese and spanish?
+2
Level 69
Aug 25, 2023
Zarma is the name for the language spoken in Niger — can you accept the names used for that same language in northern Mali: Songhoy/Sonrai or Koyraboro Senni? Or move the dot over ;-) I tried Tamacheq and Bella, guessing those do not have enough speakers.

Also agree with the comment about Twi — is that accepted now? Otherwise great quiz!

+1
Level 56
Oct 2, 2023
Is Krio not spoken widely enough?

edit: of course not im dumb

+1
Level 76
Nov 9, 2023
ahhhh i missed two by one letter (akan vs aka and maninka vs mandinka)
+1
Level 69
Mar 30, 2024
Makes a quiz called top languages. Includes like 100 languages (I know there are not literally 100 on here). I would put the cut-off point at above 5 million speakers. Or maybe at 7+
+1
Level 39
May 30, 2024
Great quiz. Many thanks.