Native toKenya
RegionTana River District
Native speakers
95,000 (2009 census)[1]
  • Gwano
  • Kinakomba
  • Malalulu
  • Ndera
  • Ndura
  • Zubaki
Language codes
ISO 639-3pkb

Pokomo (Kipfokomo) is a Bantu language spoken primarily along the East African coast near Tana River in the Tana River District by the Pokomo people of Kenya. Kipfokomo language originated from "Kingozi" the language, which Kiswahili was built from. "Kingozi" language is the precursor of Kiswahili.[citation needed] Pokomos are the only tribe in the world that speak "Kingozi" and sometimes are referred to as wangozi because they used to wear skins (Ngozi). All adult speakers of Pokomo are bilingual in Swahili, parts of East Africa's lingua franca.

There is high of lexical similarity between other languages like Mvita (63%), Amu (61%), Mrima (60%), Kigiryama (59%), Chidigo (58%) or Bajun (57%).


Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p b t d k g
Affricate ts dz
Implosive ɓ ɗ ʄ
Fricative f v ɸ β ð s z ʃ ɣ h
Nasal m n ɲ
Trill r
Approximant w l j
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

Pokomo does not have phonemic tone.[3]


  1. ^ Pokomo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ a b c Ipu, Hyslop P. (1982). A phonological description of the sounds of Lower Kipfokomo (MA thesis). University of Nairobi.