Kirundi, also known as Rundi, is a Bantu language. There are about 6 million people worldwide who speak this language and the biggest part of them live in Burundi, where the language is considered to be an official language along with the French language. Nevertheless, Kirundi is considered to be the primary language of communication throughout the region.
The Kirundi language is also spoken in such countries as Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Congo-Kinshasa. Both the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups use this language to communicate. Although the Kirundi language is mainly spoken by Hutus people, Tutsis and Twa people use it as well in the most parts of the country. These ethnic groups make up the vast majority of Burundi’s population. It is important to mention that in sub-Saharan Africa, such linguistic homogeneity in a country is considered to be quite unusual.
There are three regional dialects of the Kirundi language. They are Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. However, each dialect is understandable by the speakers of another dialect.
When it comes to the relations with another language, the Kirundi language is closely related to the Kinyarwanda language.
The Kirundi language has a standardized spelling system which was introduced in the 1940s. Nevertheless, there are some slight differences if we compare the systems used by Roman Catholic and Protestant missions.