||139,000 (2006), increasing. Less than 35% monolinguals. Some Tharaka people live outside their homeland. Ethnic population: 150,000.
||Eastern Province, East Meru District, Embu District; some in Kitui District.
Kenya, reference number 22
||Saraka, Sharoka, Tharaka
||Gatue (North Tharaka), Thagichu (Kitui), Ntugi (Central Tharaka), Tharaka (South Tharaka). Thagichu dialect has extensive Kamba [kam] borrowings. Gatue is influential. Difficult intelligibility with northern Meru [mer] dialects. Some Meru words have offensive meanings in Tharaka. Similar to Chuka [cuh].
||Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, E, Kikuyu-Kamba (E.20), Meru
||Older people’s dialect more prestigious due to lack of borrowings. Many now use written materials. Approaching GIDS 5. Home, social gatherings, school. All ages. Positive attitude. Also use English, Kiswahili [swh], Gikuyu [kik], or Kimîîru [mer].
||Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 45% Kiswahili or English. Taught in primary schools. NT: 2000.
||Attitudes are changing. People view language as important. Tharaka is place name. Atharaka is the name of the group. Agriculturalists: millet, sorghum. Traditional religion, Christian.