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African languages

Indo-European and Malayo-Polynesian

Indo-European tongues used in Africa include Afrikaans and English (native to many people in the Republic of South Africa and Zimbabwe). African Americans coming to Liberia in the 19th cent. introduced English there, and repatriated slaves who settled in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in the 19th cent. used a form of pidgin English, from which a creole English (now called Krio) developed. A form of creole Portuguese is current in Guinea-Bissau. Many other African lands employ European languages, particularly French, Portuguese, and English, which are often used in schools and in government as a second language. The Malayo-Polynesian family is represented by Malagasy, which is spoken on the island of Madagascar.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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