Native toKenya
EthnicityTaita people
Native speakers
(370,000 cited 1992 – 2009 census)[1]
  • Daw'ida
  • Sagala
  • Kasigau
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
dav – Taita
tga – Sagala

Taita is a Bantu language spoken in the Taita Hills of Kenya. It is closely related to the Chaga languages of Kenya and Tanzania. The Saghala (Northern Sagala, Sagalla) variety is distinct enough to be considered a language separate from the Daw'ida and Kasigau dialects.[2]

Daw'ida and Saghala contain loanwords from two different South Cushitic languages, called Taita Cushitic, which are now extinct.[3] It is likely that the Cushitic speakers were assimilated fairly recently, since lateral obstruents in the loanwords were still pronounced as such within living memory. However, those consonants have now been replaced by Bantu sounds.[4]

The Taveta language was mistaken for Daw'ida by Jouni Maho in his (2009) classification of Bantu languages. However, it's a distinct language, lexically and grammatically closest to Chasu (Pare).


  1. ^ Taita at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
    Sagala at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  2. ^ a b Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ Gabriele Sommer, Matthias Brenzinger (ed.) (1992). Language Death: Factual and Theoretical Explorations with Special Reference - "A survey of language death in Africa". Walter de Gruyter. pp. 392–394. ISBN 3110870606.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Marianne Bechhaus-Gerst, Fritz Serzisko (ed.) (1988). Cushitic-Omotic: Papers from the International Symposium on Cushitic and Omotic Languages, Cologne, January 6-9, 1986. Buske Verlag. p. 99. ISBN 3871188905.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)