Kikuyu language resources
Kikuyu is spoken on a daily basis in: Kenya
Additional background on
Gikuyu (sometimes written Kikuyu, pronounced and 'proper' spelling Gikuyu) is a language in the Central Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo family spoken primarily by the Kikuyu people of Kenya. Numbering about 6 million (22% of Kenya's population), they are the largest ethnic group in Kenya. Gikuyu is spoken in the area between Nyeri and Nairobi. Gikuyu is one of the five languages of the Thagichu subgroup of the Bantu languages that stretches from Kenya to Tanzania. The Gikuyu people usually identify their lands by the surrounding mountain ranges in Central Kenya which they call Kirinyaga or 'the shining mountain'. Gikuyu has four main mutually intelligible dialects. The Central Province districts are divided along the traditional boundaries of these dialects which are Kirinyaga, Muranga, Nyeri and Kiambu. The Gikuyu from Kirinyaga are composed of two main sub-dialects - the Ndia and Gichugu who speak the dialect Ki-Ndia and Gi-gicugu. The Gicugu's and the Ndia's do not have the "ch" or "sh" sound, and will use the "s" sound instead, hence the pronunciation of "Gicugu" as opposed "Gichugu". To hear Ndia being spoken, one needs to be in Kerugoya the largest town in Kirinyaga. Other home towns for the Ndia, where purer forms of the dialect are spoken will be in the tea growing areas of Kagumo, and the cool Kangaita hills. Lower down the slopes is Kutus, which is a bustling dusty town with too many influences from the other dialects to be able to differentiate.
The unmistakable sing-song Gichugu dialect (which sounds like Embu a sister language to Gikuyu) can be heard in the coffee growing areas of Kianyaga, Githure, Kathunguri, Marigiti. The Gichugu switch easily to the other plainer Kikuyu dialects in conversation with the rest of the Gikuyu.
The Mwea dvision which is part of the Kirinyaga district is an amalgam of Gikuyu, mostly from Kirinyaga, settled in the mid to late 1960's soon after independence by displaced Gikuyu who's lands had been taken by the colonialists.
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All data is derived from UNESCO.