Languages of Chad
Signage in Arabic and French at the University of N'Djamena
OfficialArabic, French
IndigenousChadic languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Adamawa languages
VernacularFrançais populaire africain, Chadian Arabic
SignedNigerian Sign Language
Keyboard layout

Chad has two official languages, Arabic and French, and over 120 indigenous languages. A vernacular version of Arabic, Chadian Arabic, is a lingua franca and the language of commerce, spoken by 40–60% of the population.[1] The two official languages have fewer speakers than Chadian Arabic.[citation needed] Standard Arabic is spoken by around 615,000 speakers.[1] French is widely spoken in the main cities such as N'Djamena and by most men in the south of the country. Most schooling is in French.[2] The language with the most first-language speakers is probably Ngambay, with around one million speakers.[3]

Chad submitted an application to join the Arab League as a member state on 25 March 2014, which is still pending.[4]

Chadian Sign Language is a variant of Nigerian Sign Language, a dialect of American Sign Language; Andrew Foster introduced ASL in the 1960s, and Chadian teachers for the deaf train in Nigeria.

Niger–Congo languages

Nilo-Saharan languages

Afro-Asiatic languages

(Ethnologue lists 54 Chadic languages in Chad altogether, many of them small.)

Creole languages

Unclassified languages


  1. ^ a b "Chad's Languages -". Archived from the original on 2020-07-06.
  2. ^ "International Schools in Chad".
  3. ^ Keegan, John M. (2017). "Sara Bagirmi Languages Project".
  4. ^ Middle East Monitor: South Sudan and Chad apply to join the Arab League, 12 April 2014, retrieved 6 May 2017