Africa is the second most populous continent in the world and has several linguistic categories globally, with over 1500 different languages.

Some of these languages are widely spoken across a recognizable area while others also found in the minority and are barely known if not within the spoken area.

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African languages form part of four language groups, namely Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, and Khoisan.

Scientists say they have traced the world's 6,000 modern languages from English to Mandarin back to a single "mother tongue," an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.

Below are some principal languages spoken on the continent.