The linguistic profile of Kenya is wide and varied. The country has 42 ethnic communities with many common characteristics. This inter-action has led to intensive borrowing of cultural traits. Kenya falls into three ethno-linguistic groups: Bantu, Cushites and Nilotes. Nearly two thirds of Kenyans are Bantu. Three per cent of the population is Cushite-speaking although they occupy the largest geographic area. The other section of the population speaks Nilotic languages. The three language groups bind the more than 42 ethnic groups together, with over 70 linguistic variations. The migration of the groups to Kenya took place over many centuries, long before the arrival of the Europeans in the 1800s. Before, hunter-gatherers who practiced a limited form of agriculture inhabited Kenya. They were killed, assimilated or forced out as migration progressed. Traces of their lifestyles are, however, noticeable among the Ogiek of the Mau Forest and the Boni of Tana River District along the Somalia border.
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