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Afroasiatic languages

The Chadic Languages

The Chadic group of languages are spoken near Lake Chad in central Africa. Its most important tongue is Hausa, a West Chadic language native to 25 million people, of whom about 19 million live in N Nigeria, 5 million in Niger, and 1 million in Cameroon, Togo, and Benin. In addition, Hausa is widely used as a lingua franca in W Africa. Written Hausa has long employed an alphabet based on that of Arabic, but today it is turning increasingly to a system based on Roman characters. The written literature in Hausa includes both poetry and prose. Among the many other Chadic tongues are Angas, Bole, Gwandara, Ron, and other West Chadic languages; the Masa languages; Kera, Mubi, Nancere, Tobanga, and other East Chadic languages; and Kamwe, Kotoko, Mandara, and other Biu-Mandara languages.

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

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