|6.6 million (2009 census)|
|Country||B?r?r? Wa G?k?y?|
Kikuyu or Gikuyu (Gikuyu: G?k?y? [k?jó]) is a language of the Bantu family spoken primarily by the Kikuyu people (Ag?k?y?) of Kenya. Kikuyu is spoken in the area between Nyeri and Nairobi. The Kikuyu people usually identify their lands by the surrounding mountain ranges in Central Kenya which they call K?r?nyaga.
Kikuyu has four main mutually intelligible dialects. The Central Province districts are divided along the traditional boundaries of these dialects, which are K?r?nyaga, M?rang'a, Nyeri and Kiambu. The Kikuyu from K?r?nyaga are composed of two main sub-dialects - the Ndia and Gichugu who speak the dialects K?ndia and G?g?c?g?. The Gicugus and the Ndias do not have the "ch" or "sh" sound, and will use the "s" sound instead, hence the pronunciation of "G?c?g?" as opposed to "G?ch?g?". To hear Ndia being spoken, one needs to be in Kerugoya, the largest town in Kîrînyaga. Other home towns for the Ndia, where purer forms of the dialect are spoken, are located 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 so many influences from the other dialects that it is difficult to distinguish between them. The dialect is also prevalent in the rice growing area of Mwea.
The unmistakable tonal patterns of the Gich?g? dialect (which sounds like Meru or Embu, a sister language to Kikuyu) can be heard in the coffee-growing areas of Kianyaga, G?th?re, Kath?ng?ri, Marigiti. The Gichugu switch easily to other Kikuyu dialects in conversation with the rest of the Kikuyu.
Symbols shown in parentheses are those used in the orthography.
|Plosive||voiceless||t (t)||k (k)|
|voiced prenasalised||?b (mb)||?d (nd)||(ng)|
|Nasal||m (m)||n (n)||? (ny)||? (ng')|
|Fricative||voiceless||? (c)||h (h)|
|voiced||? (b)||ð (th)||? (g)|
|Approximant||j (y)||w (w)|
The prenasalized consonants are often pronounced without prenasalization, and thus /?b ?d ?d? / are often realized as [b d d? ?].
Kikuyu is written in a Latin alphabet. It does not use the letters l p q s v x z, and adds the letters ? and ?. The Kikuyu alphabet is:
Some sounds are represented by digraphs such as ng for the velar nasal /?/.
|How are you||?horo waku or k?hana at?a?|
|Give me water||He ma?|
|How are you doing?||?r? mwega? or Wi mwega|
|I am hungry||Nd? m?h?tu|
|I am good||Nd? mwega|
|Are you a friend?||W? m?rata?|
|Bye, be blessed||Tigwo na wega/Tigwo na thaay?|
|I love you||N?ngwendete.|
|Come here||?ka haha|
|I will phone you||N?ng?k?h?r?ra thim?|
|God is good||Ngai ni mwega|
|Give me money||He mbeca|
|Stop nonsense||Tiga wana|
|Corona will soon end||Corona nguth?ra nar?a|
|You are learned||Wi m?thom?|
There is a notable literature written in the Kikuyu language. For instance, Ng?g? wa Thiong'o's M?rogi wa Kagogo (Wizard of the Crow) is the longest known book written in Kikuyu. Other authors writing in Kikuyu are Gatua wa Mb?gwa and Waith?ra wa Mbuthia. Mbuthia has published various works in different genres--essays, poetry, children stories and translations--in Kikuyu. The late Wahome Mutahi also sometimes wrote in Kikuyu.