Facts About Niger Congo Languages

Facts About Niger Congo Languages
Congo Language

Can you imagine the chaos we would be facing if the world wasn’t divided into perfectly balanced categories? If you entered a grocery store and there were no separate aisles for different household items, you would not be able to find a single thing. When people enter their rooms and they know exactly where something is, it helps them find that item much more easily. This is why when you send someone else to your room to pick up something, there is a high chance they won’t be able to find it. This is why we feel at peace in the world because we know where something is. If you woke up tomorrow and found out that the world isn’t divided in categories anymore and you have to look for items on a website before shopping instead of just opening the menu and selecting electronics and beauty, you will feel completely out of place.

Nature has also made categories for us and put things in their different places. A mountain cannot change its location and show up in the middle of a city. The same way, humans have made categories too so they can better understand the things around us. We have categorized both natural and man-made things. There are elements that we have divided in different categories based on their features and then there are skincare products which we placed in their respective places.

Languages are also something humans created. We made them so we can talk to each other properly and convey whatever we are feeling. However, the more the population of the earth grew, the more vernaculars we created. It is just like the cultures that are practiced in the world today. The more tribes and nations showed up on earth, the more traditions they made up to follow. Just like cultures, each language is unique and has its particular set of features. But there are a few that share similarities either because of closeness of location or a common ancestor. In either case, the ones with similar features are placed in the same family.

There are over seven thousand languages in the world and the number will rise when we discover more communities and hidden cultures. All of these tongues are divided into families which are further subdivided into groups. There are some features in each family which are consistent throughout the groups. There are also those features which are shared by the members of one group only. In any case, studying a language family and what makes it different from other categories is pretty interesting. A lot of it may not be understandable for those who are not familiar with linguistics. Linguists, on the other hand, love to study such similarities and take joy in learning about different vernaculars.

Congo Language

Niger Congo Languages:

Congo Language

In terms of distinct languages, this is the world’s largest linguistic family. The tongues that fall under this category are spoken by over 700 million people which make the family the third largest in the world by number of native speakers. A lot of ethnic languages which are spoken by particular groups are a part of this family, for instance, Yoruba and Igbo. The family has plenty of groups which include languages spoken in different parts of Africa.

Facts About Niger Congo Languages:

Here are some interesting facts about this language family:

  1. Over 85 percent of Africa’s population speak a Niger Congo language. This explains the popularity of the family and its reach in the continent. Even if a tongue from this family is not spoken by the majority in an African country, it will have speakers among the minority communities.
  2. Linguists are divided over the total number of Niger Congo languages but according to estimates, the number lies between 1400 and 1500. This includes all the big indigenous languages spoken in the region. The lack of recorded history of African languages make it impossible to note down all the names of old tongues that belonged to this group and have gone extinct.
  3. The biggest subgroup of Niger Congo family is that of the Bantu languages. They have 350 million speakers, which means half of the speaking population of the family falls under this group. Majority of the major languages spoken in Africa fall under this group. Many linguists study this group passionately because of its importance.
  4. Whenever the number of tongues is counted for this group, dialects are not included. The reason behind that is the huge number of dialects spoken in the region and the various names used for different dialects. In some areas, even the same dialect may have different names which can be confusing for students. And the number of dialects increases quicker than the number of languages.
  5. The biggest languages in the family includes the likes of Swahili and Yoruba. Swahili has the greatest number of speakers in the family including both native and non-native speakers. It has almost 150 million speakers. The number of people studying Swahili is always on the rise because of its importance in the region. Learning it can help people communicate with a large number of the African population.

The family known for the use of a noun class system is probably the most important language group in the world. Africa has always been something people want to understand but don’t know how to go about that, but learning these languages can be of great help.

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