11 Facts About Bantu languages


Bantu languages are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu people of Central, Southern, and Southeast Africa.

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Total number of Bantu languages speakers is in the hundreds of millions, estimated around 350 million in the mid-2010s .

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Bantu languages are largely spoken southeast of Cameroon, throughout Central Africa, Southeast Africa and Southern Africa.

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Term narrow Bantu, excluding those languages classified as Bantoid by Guthrie, was introduced in the 1960s.

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Bantu languages descend from a common Proto-Bantu language, which is believed to have been spoken in what is Cameroon in Central Africa.

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The term "narrow Bantu" was coined by the Benue–Congo Working Group to distinguish Bantu as recognized by Guthrie, from the Bantoid languages not recognized as Bantu by Guthrie.

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Until recently most attempted classifications only considered languages that happen to fall within traditional Narrow Bantu, but there seems to be a continuum with the related languages of South Bantoid.

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Northwest Bantu is more divergent internally than Central Bantu, and perhaps less conservative due to contact with non-Bantu Niger–Congo languages; Central Bantu is likely the innovative line cladistically.

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Northwest Bantu languages is clearly not a coherent family, but even for Central Bantu languages the evidence is lexical, with little evidence that it is a historically valid group.

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Reduplication is a common morphological phenomenon in Bantu languages and is usually used to indicate frequency or intensity of the action signalled by the verb stem.

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Virtually all Bantu languages have a Subject–verb–object word order with some exceptions such as the Nen language which has a Subject-Object-Verb word order.

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