bantu bbantu abantu nbantu tbantu u

The Bantu linguistic group covers an area from South Cameroon to almost the whole Southern Africa, including then Eastern and Central Africa. This is a family of hundreds of languages whose number of speakers is close to 220 millions. The country with the largest number of Bantu languages is Congo-Kinshasa. The Bantu language with the largest number of speakers is Swahili. Other Bantu languages are well known, such as Zulu or Lingala. Click here to see a liste of Bantu languages that play an important role in their respective country. Bantu languages form a family in the sens that they share features in common; one of the most notable is probably the system of concord classes. Any sentence will be built according to the classe, as shown in this umbundu example. The word "bantu" actually means "humans". It is built from *-ntu, the Common Bantu (and Proto-Bantu) root for "human", widely attested among Bantu languages. Proto-Bantu, as one can guess, is a proto language, a starting point for Bantu languages that is still the topic of current researches in Bantu linguistics. Since the beginning of the 20th century, linguists have drawn up a classification of Bantu languages according to the data available. It is quite noticeable that the more we learn, the more pieces the jigsaw puzzle has. One of the map used in Bantu linguistics is that of Tervuren (Belgium). Bantuists (Bantu linguists) usually refer to a language by adding a reference (taken from a classification) to its name. See for instance M. Guthrie's classification (1948):
Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
Group E
Group F
Group G
Group H
Group K
Group L
Group M
Group N
Group P
Group R
Group S
South Cameroon & North Gabon
South Gabon & West Congo-B
North-West, North & Central Congo
North-East, East Congo-K & Rwanda-Burundi
South Uganda, South-West Kenya & North-West Tanzania
North & West Tanzania
Central, East Tanzania & Swahili coast
South-West Congo-B & North Angola
East Angola & West Zambia
South Congo-K & West, Central Zambia
East, Central Zambia, South-West Tanzania & South-East Congo-K
Malawi, Central Mozambique & South-East Zambia
South Tanzania & North Mozambique
South-West Angola & North-West Namibia
Zimbabwe, South Mozambique & East of South Africa

You can read the FAQ for further general information on Bantu languages.

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