Hausa is a language with around 65M native speakers and another 50M who speak it as a second language, totaling 115 speakers generally.
Researchers claimed that along with Oromo, Hausa is one of the biggest African languages in terms of indigenous native speakers — unlike Swahili, where most speakers aren’t native.
Oromo, with about 50 million speakers, is the other language that’s spoken in Ethiopia aside from the official language, Amharic. It is spoken by about 20M people globally and 30 million people locally.
Aside from English, Swahili is the most spoken language in Africa with an estimated 100M speakers but only 5 million native speakers, unlike Hausa with about 65 million native speakers.
“Native” means the language people speak at home, and with which people associate culturally?
Swahili is exclusively native to the coast of Tanzania and Kenya the island of Zanzibar. The name Swahili itself emanates from the Arabic word for “coastal” (سواحلي, sawaaHili).
Meanwhile, Hausa is a Chadic language mostly spoken in the northern part of Nigeria and in southern Niger.
Native or not, basically everyone in Tanzania speaks Swahili proficiently. It is also their language of education. Also, everyone in Kenya learns Swahili in school and uses it as a lingua franca with Kenyans.
Tanzania adopted Swahili as its national language around fifty years ago, and now it’s more widely spoken in Tanzania than English.
Nigeria is one of the most backward nations in Africa culturally as the English Language is preferred by a majority of the population to the native language. This problem is rife in Southern Nigeria and worse in Western Nigeria where the Yorubas (foolishly, pardon my French) pride themselves on their abilities to speak English Language.
Similar to what is obtainable in Nigeria, Kenya has Swahili as one of its official languages, but in practice, most education in Kenya is in English. Kenyans use Swahili (blended with local slang) in daily life, but for professional matters, they speak English.
There are about 100 million speakers of Egyptian Arabic. It’s more like a dialect, a variant of Eastern Arabic.
Egyptians describe it as “colloquial” Arabic to distinguish it from Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the language of news, business, and politics.
Maghrebi (“Western”) Arabic, or ad-darijah (الدارجة) also has about 100 million speakers. It is a dialect continuum spoken mostly in North Africa – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Western Sahara, Libya, and Mauritania.
Yoruba is a West African language primarily rooted in Western Nigeria. The language has about 50M native speakers, mostly people of Yoruba ethnicity, plus about other 10 million people who speak it as a second language.
Igbo is primarily spoken in Eastern Nigeria and by many others in Central and West Africa. It has about 27 million speakers.
There about 28 million Zulu speakers and 8 million Xhosa speakers in Southern Africa. Both languages are indigenous to South Africa.