Cote D’Ivoire

Cote d’Ivoire is a country located on the western coast of Africa whose official language is French. With a population of approximately 23.74 million people, the region has been inhabited by various indigenous tribes since the ancient times. Around 1880, France established control over the region, and during this time the French language became the primary language of government, education, and business. Since then, French has remained the official language of the country and is used by public service offices and as the instruction medium in public schools throughout the country.

A large portion of the country’s population is of indigenous ethnicity, a diversity which has resulted in a number of indigenous languages which are spoken all over the country. There are approximately four regional language families into which these languages can be grouped: Mande languages in the northwest, Kru languages in the southwest, Kwa languages in the southeast, and Senufo languages in the north of the country. The Kwa language group has the largest number of speakers and branches out into the Baoule and Anyin languages, of which Baoule has around 2.1 million native speakers and Anyin around 1.2 million. Both of these languages belong to the Central Tano language subgroup. The Kru languages, spoken by the Kru indigenous communities throughout Cote d’ivoire, as well as Burkina Faso and Liberia, are part of the larger Niger-Congo language family. These languages are further branched out into the Bete, Wobe, Dida, and Gure languages. The Bete and Gure are the most widely spoken two, with approximately 410,000 and 320,000 native speakers, respectively. Next, the Senufo languages, which also belong to the Niger-Congo language family, is a group made up of around 15 separate languages spoken across Cote d’Ivoire, as well as in Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Mali. In Cote d’Ivoire, one of the most widely spoken Senufo languages subgroups is Senari. Of the Senari subgroup, Cebaara is the most commonly spoken language with around 860,000 native speakers. The Mande language group is the most geographically dispersed one, with languages from this group heard in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea-Bissau. In Cote d’Ivoire, the most commonly spoken Mande languages are Dan and Guro, with 800,000 and 500,000 speakers, respectively.

In addition to these indigenous languages, there is an estimated 3 million individuals who speak various immigrant languages in Cote d’Ivoire. These mainly include other African indigenous languages and languages from non-African nations such as Lebanon, Spain, and Vietnam.


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