Kinyarwanda Language: Interesting Facts & Resources

Today we feature the Kinyarwanda language! We have gathered some background information and interesting facts about the language. We also have information on our newest bilingual children’s books now available in Kinyarwanda.

Where is Kinyarwanda spoken?

Kinyarwanda is a Bantu language spoken by 99% of the people in Rwanda and is one of the official languages. There are also native Kinyarwanda speakers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda. Globally, over 20 million people speak Kinyarwanda.

Most Rwandan and Congolese refugees settling in the United States speak Kinyarwanda. There are Kinyarwanda-speaking communities in Arkansas, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Interesting Facts About Kinyarwanda

Kinyarwanda was developed during the 15th century by the three Rwandan ethnic groups: the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa.

Kinyarwanda is a tonal language with contrasting high and low tones.  Where English has two noun classes, singular and plural, Kinyarwanda has over a dozen different noun classes.

Despite the large number of Kinyarwanda speakers, very few books and periodicals are written in the language.

Kinyarwanda Books – Bilingual Children’s Books

If you interact with children who speak Kinyarwanda, or are learning the language, you may want suggestions on some of the best bilingual children’s books. For example, the Living in Harmony series is a valuable resource for discussing universal themes of kindness and respect while learning about a new culture.

Are you interested in learning about other languages as well?  Check out our series of posts on world languages, including Tigrinya, Hmong, Cherokee, Hindi, Dari, Pashto, and Ukrainian!


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