Kinyarwanda, also spelled as Ruanda and known as Rwanda, is the most widely spoken language in Rwanda. Furthermore, it is one of the most widely spoken languages among the Bantu languages, that takes the second position after Kiswahili in terms of the number of speakers who live in the region of Rwanda. It is spoken by 20 million people worldwide. 8 million of Kinyarwanda speakers reside in Rwanda. In other words, 99% of people who live in the region speak this language. Some of the speakers use it as a first language, while some of the speakers speak Kinyarwanda as a second language along with the other official languages such as English, French or Kiswahili. People who speak the Kinyarwanda language live all over Africa’s Great Lakes Region in Uganda, Congo, and Tanzania, and across Rwanda’s Diaspora.
The Kinyarwanda language is considered to be a part of the Bantu language subgroup in the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo family of languages. It is important to mention that the Kinyarwanda language is absolutely unique in comparison to other languages of the Niger-Kongo language family. All of the languages belonging to the Niger-Kongo language family were highly influenced or even formed due to the colonial history of the region and the Kinyarwanda language is the exception. The language was created by the people who settled the region, known as the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. These people organized into smaller clans which then formed into larger kingdoms. These people came together to create the nation of Rwanda and developed their own sophisticated language now know as Kinyarwanda. The language appeared due to their set of religious and philosophical beliefs and it has created a culture which valued song, dance, poetry, and rhetoric.
When it comes to the structure of the language, Kinyarwanda is considered to be an excellent example of Bantu languages. It is worth to mention that Kinyarwanda is a tonal language which means that the meaning of the words is defined through the inflection of the voice.