|Native to||Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique (mostly Mwani), Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Comoros, Mayotte, Zambia, Malawi, and Madagascar|
|3 million to 15 million. (2012)|
L2 speakers: 50 to 100 million
|Latin script (Roman Swahili alphabet),|
Arabic script (Arabic Swahili alphabet)
Official language in
|Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, African Union, |
|Regulated by||Baraza la Kiswahili la Taifa (Tanzania), Chama cha Kiswahili cha Taifa (Kenya)|
swa – inclusive code
swc – Congo Swahili
swh – Coastal Swahili
ymk – Makwe
wmw – Mwani
G.40.A–H (pidgins & creoles)
areas where Swahili or Comorian is the indigenous language
official or national language
as a trade language
Swahili, also known as Kiswahili (translation: coast language), is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. It is a lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Comorian, spoken in the Comoros Islands is sometimes considered to be a dialect of Swahili, though other authorities consider it a distinct language.
Estimates of the total number of Swahili speakers vary widely, from 50 million to over 100 million. Swahili serves as a national language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the DRC. Shikomor, the official language in Comoros and also spoken in Mayotte (Shimaore), is related to Swahili. Swahili is also one of the working languages of the African Union and officially recognised as a lingua franca of the .
A significant fraction of Swahili vocabulary is derived from Arabic through contact with Arabic-speaking Muslim inhabitants.