Languages of Chad
|French and (Chadian) Arabic
are the official languages of Chad, but there are more
than 120 others spoken in the country as well. There are
also several major trade languages spoken in the markets
of each region. In the Sarh region, Sara is a major trade
language. Further up the Chari River, Bagirmi has made
its mark as the language spoken in the market. The most
commonly spoken language in Chad is Arabic. In the
marketplaces of the Ouaddaï region, (Chad) Arabic is
spoken, as it is also in the Guéra and in N'Djaména.
For a full list of Chadian languages, see the Ethnologue. Also worth mentioning is the top notch website of the Herdé or Zimé language committee. There has been a revival of development of Chadian languages, with village language committees working tirelessly to prepare alphabets, primers and storybooks in their previously unwritten language. Booklets about health issues, farming, traditional stories and so on continue to be produced in these languages. In some places, the first two years of primary school are being taught in the village language to assist the students with the transition to the language of instruction, with positive results.
For professional or amateur linguists, we would like to recommend that you consult the linguistic survey reports of the Survey Department of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, based in N'Djaména. They are available for your viewing thanks to the University of Bayreuth, in Germany.
If you are a Chadian who speaks one of the 120 languages of Chad, please help us by sending us some survival phrases in your home language! You will help us assist foreign visitors to communicate when travelling in your home region.