Kirundi (Ikirundi)

Kirundi is a Bantu language with about 11.2 million speakers, mainly in Burundi, and in Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and other countries. There are about 10.4 million speakers of Kirundi in Burundi, about 565,000 in Rwanda, and about 246,000 in Tanzania. There are smaller numbers of Kirundi speakers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

Kirundi is one of the official languages of Burundi, along with French, and is the spoken mainly by the Hutu people, but also by the Tutsi, Twa and Hima people. It is taught in schools, and used in the media and literature. About 55% of Kirundi speakers are literate in their language.

Kirundi is also known as Rundi, Roundi, Hima or Urundi. The native name for the language is Ikirundi. Dialects include Ikibo, Ikirundi, Ikiragane, Igisoni, Ikinyabweru, Ikiyogoma and Ikimoso. It is closely related to Kinyarwanda.

There has been a standardised spelling system for Kirundi since the 1940s, though Roman Catholic and Protestant missions use slightly different systems. The Rundi Academy was set up in 2020 to standardize and promote the language.

Kirundi alphabet (Ihálifu y’Íkirǔndi)

Kirundi alphabet (Ihálifu y’Íkirǔndi)

Download an alphabet chart for Kirundi (Excel)

Notes

Kirundi has tones, but they are not usually indicated in writing.

Sample text in Kirundi

Abantu bose bavuka bishira bakizana kandi bangana mu gateka no mu ngingo zibubahiriza. Bafise ubwenge n'umutima kandi bategerezwa kwubahana nk'abavandimwe.

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Kirundi pronunciation compiled by Wolfram Siegel

Sample videos in and about Kirundi

Information about Kirundi | Numbers | Tower of Babel

Links

Information about the Kirundi language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirundi_language
https://www.ethnologue.com/language/run
https://www.matana.de/kirundi I.pdf

Bantu languages

Basaa, Bemba, Bulu, Chichewa, Chokwe, Comorian, Digo, Duala, Eton, Ewondo, Fang, Ganda/Luganda, Gogo, Gusii, Gwere, Haya, Herero, Ikizu, Jita, Kamba, Kiga, Kikuyu, Kimbundu, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Kisi, Kongo, Konjo, Kuria, Lambya, Lingala, Loma, Lozi, Luchazi, Luvale, Makonde, Makhuwa, Mandekan, Maore, Masaaba, Mbunda, Mende, Mushungulu, Mwani, Nande, Nkore, Northern Ndebele (South Africa), Northern Ndebele (Zimbabwe), Northern Sotho, Nyamwezi, Nyakyusa, Nyemba, Nyole, Nyungwe, OshiWambo, Punu, Ronga, Sena, Shona, Soga, Songe, Southern Ndebele, Southern Sotho, Sukuma, Swahili, Swati, Tonga, Tshiluba, Tsonga, Tswa, Tswana, Tumbuka, Umbundu, Venda, Xhosa, Yao, Zigula, Zinza, Zulu

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 16.04.22

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