Kenya has a very diverse population that includes three of Africa's major sociolinguistic groups: Bantu (67%), Nilotic (30%), and Cushitic
(Agaw) *kuy- means 'to emit sounds', South Cushitic
*kaw- means 'to tell', and Dahalo (Sanye) kaaTmeans 'to shout'.
They neglected Yaaku, a tongue from a language group called Cushitic
, in favor of the Maasai's language Maa, which is radically different with roots in another group called Nilotic.
Table 1: Language sample Kabyle Berber (Afro-Asiatic) Tachelhit Berber (Afro-Asiatic) Tamahak Berber (Afro-Asiatic) Afar Cushitic
(Afro-Asiatic) Jola Atlantic (Niger-Congo) Balante Atlantic (Niger-Congo) Gbaya Ubangi (Niger-Congo) Cerma Gur (Niger-Congo) Tigemaxo Mande (Niger-Congo) Chamba Daka Bueno-Congo (Niger-Congo) Yulu Central Sudanic (Nilo-Saharan) French Italic (Indo-European) Tigre Semitic (Afro-Asiatic) Zaar Chadic (Afro-Asiatic) Hausa Chadic (Afro-Asiatic) Kisi Bantu (Niger-Congo) Bijogo Atlantic (Niger-Congo) Wolof Atlantic (Niger-Congo) Zulu Bantu (Niger-Congo) Nateni Gur (Niger-Congo) Bambara Mande (Niger-Congo) Kanuri Saharan (Nilo-Saharan) Palenquero Creole (Spanish based) English Germanic (Indo-Europ.
One the other hand, Somali language is a member of the Cushitic
languages spoken mostly in Somalia and nearby Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
The long process of Bantu expansion, a series of long-distance migrations over millennia, involved both iron technology and mixed agriculture, eventually assimilating Cushitic
and Sudanic linguistic groups.
Except for the most recent immigrants, it is safe to say that all tribes in Kenya contain a mixture of Bantu, Kalenjin, Eastern Nilotic and Eastern Cushitic
elements, with a small amount of Southern Cushitic
and Hadzan thrown in.
Arabic is classified as a Semitic language; it belongs to the Afro-Asiatic family of languages that also includes the Cushitic
languages, Berber, and the Chadic group (Greenberg, 1970; Comrie, Matthews, & Polinsky, 1997).
There are twelve Ethio-Semitic languages, including Amharic and Tigrinya; twenty-two Cushitic
languages, including Oromiffa, Somali, Sidamigna, and Afarigua; eighteen Omotic languages, including Welaitigna and Keffigna; and eighteen Nilo-Saharan languages, including Gumuz, Nuer, and Anyuak.
In Ethiopian discourse, so-called racial distinctions such as Semitic, Hamitic, Negroid, and Cushitic
are manipulated to perpetuate the political objective of Habasha domination of the colonized population groups.
35) Southern Cushitic
speakers (belonging to the Afrasan language phylum) began moving into northern Kenya (from Ethiopia) about 3000 BCE.
Claude Sumner draws upon his studies of the Cushitic
Oromo peoples of Ethiopia to develop a paradigm for understanding how proverbs speak in oral societies.