Romance-speaking Africa -

Romance-speaking Africa

Romance-speaking African countries
Official languages French, Portuguese and Spanish
Member states 27

Romance-speaking Africa or Latin Africa consists of the countries and territories in Africa whose official or main languages are Romance ones, and countries which have significant populations that speak Romance languages: French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian.

Many of these countries are members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF; International Organization of La Francophonie) or the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa), and seven are members of the Latin Union.[1]

North Africa, from Morocco to Egypt, was part of the Roman Empire. As a result, the African Romance language evolved in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. It was spoken until the 13th century.


French language

The following is a list of the Sub-Saharan African countries where French or African French is spoken.[2][3]

The French Language is also spoken in two French Overseas Departments:

Portuguese language

African countries where Portuguese ( African Portuguese varieties) is spoken:[2]

Portuguese territory, geographically located in Africa, where Portuguese is spoken

Spanish language

Sub-Saharan African countries where Spanish is spoken:[2]

Spain territories in Africa (official language):

Romance languages in North Africa

In North Africa there are countries where French, Spanish or Italian are spoken, but they are neither the main nor the official languages:

Italian language

 Eritrea,  Ethiopia,  Libya, and  Somalia conserve Italian as a colonial legacy; Somalia had Italian as its cultural language in universities up to 1991; however, the Italian language remains unknown to over 95% of the population. In Libya, Italians were forced to leave the country after its independence. The presence of Italian is limited in Ethiopia as Italian rule lasted only 5 years from 1936 to 1941.

In all of these countries, the only one that preserves Italian is Eritrea, which has only one Italian-language school remaining, with 470 pupils yearly. The name of the only Italian-language school in Eritrea is Scuola Italiana di Asmara.[4] Somalia once decreed that the republic's official languages would be the (Maay and Maxaatiri) registers of Somali as well as Arabic, deleting Italian's official status.[5]

Italian islands geographically in Africa(official language):

See also


  1. ^ "Unión Latina" . Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  2. ^ a b c "CIA - The World Factbook -- Field Listing - Languages" . Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  3. ^ Population Reference Bureau. "2007 World Population Data Sheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  4. ^ (in Italian)Scuola Italiana di Asmara (in Italian)
  5. ^ Diana Briton Putman, Mohamood Cabdi Noor, The Somalis: their history and culture, (Center for Applied Linguistics: 1993), p. 15.: "Somalis speak Somali. Swahili may also be spoken in coastal areas near Kenya."

Categories: Country classifications | Romance languages

Information as of: 14.06.2020 03:35:34 CEST

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