The most widely distributed language family is Niger-Congo. About 75% of Africans speak a language belonging to this family. It includes the Kordofanian group, which is sometimes considered to be a separate language group in its own right. The languages of the Niger-Congo family (more than 900) cover a large geographic area: from Senegal to Cape of Good Hope and, as a result of migrations, in eastern and southern Africa.
The Bantu languages - the word Bantu means 'people' - are the most widely spoken languages of the Niger-Congo family. This is due in part to the migrations that have occurred throughout eastern and southern Africa. The Bantu languages (for example Zulu, Xhosa, Makua, Nyanja and Swahili) are spoken throughout eastern, central and southern Africa. Swahili is a major language, and is spoken so widely spoken in eastern Africa that it is considered the lingua franca.
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