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Languages of Mozambique

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mozambique is a multilingual country. A number of Bantu languages are indigenous to Mozambique. Portuguese, inherited from the colonial period (see: Portuguese Mozambique), is the official language, and Mozambique is a full member of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.[1] Ethnologue lists 43 languages spoken in the country.

According to INE, the National Institute of Statistics of Mozambique, Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in Mozambique: According to the 2007 national population and housing census, 50.4% of the national population aged 5 and older (80.8% of people living in urban areas and 36.3% in rural areas) are fluent in the language. Other widely spoken languages include Swahili, Makhuwa, Sena, Ndau, and Tswa-Ronga (Tsonga). Other indigenous languages of Mozambique include Lomwe, Makonde, Chopi, Chuwabu, Ronga, Kimwani, Zulu, and Tswa.[2] The language of the deaf community is Mozambican Sign Language.[2]

Small communities of Arabs, Chinese, and Indians (primarily the Gujarati language) speak their own languages (Indians from Portuguese India speak any of the Portuguese Creoles of their origin) aside from Portuguese as their second language.[2]

Commercial signs in Portuguese in Maputo.
Commercial signs in Portuguese in Maputo.

Article 9 of Mozambique's constitution provides for the recognition of national languages and that such languages be considered "cultural and educational heritage" and that the state "shall promote their development and increasing use as languages that convey our identity". Portuguese is deemed the country's official language by article 10.

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Most Mozambicans speak more than one language.[citation needed]. According to the 2007 census about 50.4% of all people aged 5 and older speak Portuguese, and 10.7%, including people of Portuguese ancestry and mestiços, speak it as their first language. Use of the Portuguese language remains strongly concentrated to the urban population of Mozambique along the coast.[1]

Linguistic geography

Influence among languages

Many indigenous languages of Mozambique have loan words of Portuguese origin.

Largest language groups

Mozambique largest language groups (1998)[3]
Language Number of speakers (L1) Percentage of population
Emakhuwa 4,007,010 24.8
Cisena 1,807,319 11.2
Xitsonga 1,799,614 11.2
Elomwe 1,269,527 7.9
Cishona 1,070,471 6.6
Xitswa 763,029 4.7
Xironga 626,174 3.9
Chichewa 607,671 3.8
489,915 3
Cinyungwe 446,567 2.8
Cicopi 406,521 2.5
Ciyao 374,426 2.3
Shimakonde 371,111 2.3
Ekoti 102,393 0.6
Kimwani 29,980 0.2
Swahili 21,070 0.1
Swazi 7,742 0.05
Zulu 3,529 0.02
Total 16,135,403 100


  1. ^ a b "Mozambique". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  2. ^ a b c "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Mozambique". Dallas, Texas: SIL International. 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  3. ^ Inquérito Nacional aos Agregados Familiares sobre Condições de Vida, Resultados Gerais, Instituto Nacional de Estatística, Maputo, 1998.

External links

This page was last edited on 3 October 2018, at 19:53
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