The Info List - Somali Language

Somali /səˈmɑːli, soʊ-/[4][5] (Af-Soomaali [æ̀f sɔ̀ːmɑ́ːlì])[6] is an Afroasiatic language belonging to the Cushitic branch. It is spoken as a mother tongue by Somalis
in Greater Somalia
and the Somali diaspora. Somali is an official language of Somalia, Somaliland,[7] a national language in Djibouti, and a working language in the Somali Region
Somali Region
of Ethiopia. It is used as an adoptive language by a few neighboring ethnic minority groups and individuals. The Somali language
Somali language
is written officially with the Latin alphabet.


1 Classification 2 Geographic distribution

2.1 Official status

3 Varieties 4 Phonology 5 Grammar

5.1 Morphology 5.2 Syntax

6 Vocabulary 7 Writing system 8 Sample text

8.1 Numbers 8.2 Days of the week 8.3 Months of the year

9 See also 10 Notes 11 References 12 Further reading 13 External links

Classification[edit] Main articles: Afroasiatic languages
Afroasiatic languages
and Cushitic languages Somali is classified within the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic family; specifically, as Lowland East Cushitic along with Afar and Saho.[8] Somali is the best-documented Cushitic language,[9] with academic studies of the language dating back to the late 19th century.[10] Geographic distribution[edit] Somali is spoken by Somalis
in Somalia, the self-declared state of Somaliland, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Yemen
and Kenya, and by the Somali diaspora. It is also spoken as an adoptive language by a few ethnic minority groups and individuals in these areas. Somali is the second most widely spoken Cushitic language after Oromo.[11] As of 2006, there were approximately 16.6 million speakers of Somali, of which around 8.3 million resided in Somalia.[12] The language is spoken by an estimated 95% of the country's inhabitants,[10] and also by a majority of the population in Djibouti.[9] Following the start of the Somali Civil War
Somali Civil War
in the early 1990s, the Somali-speaking diaspora increased in size, with newer Somali speech communities forming in parts of the Middle East, North America
North America
and Europe.[12] Official status[edit]

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Constitutionally, Somali and Arabic
are the two official languages of Somalia.[13] Somali has been an official national language since January 1973, when the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) declared it the Somali Democratic Republic's primary language of administration and education. Somali was thereafter established as the main language of academic instruction in forms 1 through 4, following preparatory work by the government-appointed Somali Language Committee. It later expanded to include all 12 forms in 1979. In 1972, the SRC adopted a Latin orthography as the official national alphabet over several other writing scripts that were then in use. Concurrently, the Italian-language daily newspaper Stella d'Ottobre was nationalized, renamed to Xiddigta Oktoobar ("The October Star"), and began publishing in Somali.[14] The state-run Radio Mogadishu
Radio Mogadishu
has also broadcast in Somali since 1943.[15] Additionally, the regional public networks the Puntland TV and Radio and Somaliland
National TV, as well as Eastern Television Network and Horn Cable Television, among other private broadcasters, air programs in Somali.[16] Somali is recognized as an official working language in the Somali Region of Ethiopia.[17] Although it is not an official language of Djibouti, it constitutes a major national language there. Somali is used in television and radio broadcasts,[10][18] with the government-operated Radio Djibouti
transmitting programs in the language from 1943 onwards.[15] The Somali language
Somali language
is regulated by the Regional Somali Language Academy, an intergovernmental institution established in June 2013 in Djibouti
City by the governments of Djibouti, Somalia
and Ethiopia. It is officially mandated with preserving the Somali language.[19] As of 2013, Somali is also one of the featured languages available on Google Translate.[20] Varieties[edit] Main article: Somali languages

Distribution of Somali dialectal groups in the Horn of Africa

Somali linguistic varieties are broadly divided into three main groups: Northern, Benadir and Maay.[21] Northern Somali (or Nsom[22]) forms the basis for Standard Somali.[21] It is spoken by more than 60% of the entire Somali population,[22] with its speech area stretching from northern Somalia
to parts of the eastern and southwestern sections of the country.[23] This widespread modern distribution is a result of a long series of southward population movements over the past ten centuries from the Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden
littoral.[24] Lamberti subdivides Northern Somali is into three dialects: Northern Somali proper (spoken in the northwest; he describes this dialect as Northern Somali in the proper sense), the Darod group (spoken in the northeast and along the eastern Ethiopia
frontier; greatest number of speakers overall), and the Lower Juba group (spoken by northern Somali settlers in the southern riverine areas).[25]

Speech sample in Standard Somali (an Islamic discourse containing many Arabic

Benadir (also known as Coastal Somali) is spoken on the central Indian Ocean seaboard, including Mogadishu. It forms a relatively large group. The dialect is fairly mutually intelligible with Northern Somali.[26]

Northern Somali (Nsom) dialect subgroups

Maay is principally spoken by the Digil and Mirifle ( Rahanweyn or Sab) clans in the southern regions of Somalia.[21] Its speech area extends from the southwestern border with Ethiopia
to a region close to the coastal strip between Mogadishu
and Kismayo, including the city of Baidoa.[26] Maay is not mutually comprehensible with Northern Somali, and it differs in sentence structure and phonology.[27] It is also not generally used in education or media. However, Maay speakers often use Standard Somali as a lingua franca,[26] which is learned via mass communications, internal migration and urbanization.[27] Maay is closely related with the Jiddu, Dabarre, Garre and Tunni varieties that are also spoken by smaller Rahanweyn communities. Collectively, these languages present similarities with Oromo that are not found in mainstream Somali. Chief among these is the lack of pharyngeal sounds in the Rahanweyn/Digil and Mirifle languages, features which by contrast typify Somali. Although in the past frequently classified as dialects of Somali, more recent research by the linguist Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi has shown that these varieties, including Maay, constitute separate Cushitic languages.[28] The degree of divergence is comparable to that between Spanish and Portuguese.[29] Of the Digil varieties, Jiddu is the most incomprehensible to Benadir and Northern speakers.[30] Despite these linguistic differences, Somali speakers collectively view themselves as speaking a common language.[31] Phonology[edit] Main article: Somali phonology Somali has 22 consonant phonemes.[32]

Somali consonant phonemes[33][34]

  Bilabial Labio dental Dental Alveolar Palato alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyn geal Glottal

Nasal m         n                            

Plosive   b     t̪ d̪           ɖ     k ɡ q       ʔ  

Affricate                 d͡ʒ                          

Fricative     f       s   ʃ           x~χ       ħ ʕ h  

Trill             r                            

Approximant             l         j w            

The consonants /b d̪ g/ often weaken to [β ð ɣ] intervocalically.[35] The retroflex plosive /ɖ/ may have an implosive quality for some speakers, and intervocalically it can be realized as the flap [ɽ].[35] Some speakers produce /ħ/ with epiglottal trilling.[36] /q/ is often epiglottalized.[37] The language has five basic vowels. Each has a front and back variation as well as long or short versions. This gives a distinct 20 pure vowel sounds. It also exhibits three tones: high, low and falling. The syllable structure of Somali is (C)V(C). Root morphemes usually have a mono- or di-syllabic structure. Pitch is phonemic in Somali, but it is debated whether Somali is a pitch accent or tonal language.[38] Andrzejewski (1954) posits that Somali is a tonal language,[39] whereas Banti (1988) suggests that it is a pitch accent language.[40] Grammar[edit] Main article: Somali grammar

Somali pronouns

  Subject pronouns Object pronouns

Person Emphatic Short Emphatic Short

1. Sing. anigu aan aniga i(i)

2. Sing. adigu aad adiga ku(u)

3. Sing. m. isagu uu isaga (u)

3. Sing. f. iyadu ay iyada (u)

1. Pl. (inclusive) innagu aynu innaga ina/inoo

1. Pl. (exclusive) annagu aannu annaga na/noo

2. Pl. idinku aad idinka idin/idiin

3. Pl. iyagu ay iyaga (u)

Morphology[edit] Somali is an agglutinative language, and also shows properties of inflection. Affixes mark many grammatical meanings, including aspect, tense and case.[41] Somali evinces an old prefixal verbal inflection restricted to four common verbs, with all other verbs undergoing inflection by more obvious suffixation. This general pattern is similar to the stem alternation that typifies Cairene Arabic.[42] Changes in pitch are used for grammatical rather than lexical purposes.[43] This includes distinctions of gender, number and case.[43] In some cases, these distinctions are marked by tone alone (e.g. Ínan, "boy"; inán, "girl").[44] Somali has two sets of pronouns: independent (substantive, emphatic) pronouns and clitic (verbal) pronouns.[45] The independent pronouns behave grammatically as nouns, and normally occur with the suffixed article -ka/-ta (e.g. adiga, "you").[45] This article may be omitted after a conjunction or focus word. For example, adna meaning "and you..." (from adi-na).[45] Clitic pronouns are attached to the verb and do not take nominal morphology.[46] Somali marks clusivity in the first person plural pronouns; this is also found in a number of other East Cushitic languages, such as Rendille and Dhaasanac.[47] As in various other Afro-Asiatic languages, Somali has gender polarity whereby plural nouns usually take the opposite gender agreement of their singular forms.[48][49] For example, the plural of the masculine noun dibi ("bull") is formed by converting it into feminine dibi.[48] Somali is unusual among the world's languages in that the object is unmarked for case while the subject is marked, though this feature is found in other Cushitic languages
Cushitic languages
such as Oromo.[50] Syntax[edit] Somali is a subject–object–verb (SOV) language.[12] It is largely head final, with postpositions and with obliques preceding verbs.[51] These are common features of the Cushitic and Semitic Afroasiatic languages spoken in the Horn region (e.g. Amharic).[52] However, Somali noun phrases are head-initial, whereby the noun precedes its modifying adjective.[51][53] This pattern of general head-finality with head-initial noun phrases is also found in other Cushitic languages (e.g. Oromo), but not generally in Ethiopian Semitic languages.[51][54] Somali uses three focus markers: baa, ayaa and waxa(a), which generally mark new information or contrastive emphasis.[55] Baa and ayaa require the focused element to occur preverbally, while waxa(a) may be used following the verb.[56] Vocabulary[edit]

Somali language
Somali language
books on display.

Somali loanwords can be divided into those derived from other Afroasiatic languages
Afroasiatic languages
(mainly Arabic), and those of Indo-European extraction (mainly Italian).[57] Somali's main lexical borrowings come from Arabic, and are estimated to constitute about 20% of the language's vocabulary.[58] This is a legacy of the Somali people's extensive social, cultural, commercial and religious links and contacts with nearby populations in the Arabian peninsula. Arabic
loanwords are most commonly used in religious, administrative and education-related speech (e.g. aamiin for "faith in God"), though they are also present in other areas (e.g. kubbad-da, "ball").[57] Soravia (1994) noted a total of 1,436 Arabic loanwords in Agostini a.o. 1985,[59] a prominent 40,000-entry Somali dictionary.[60] Most of the terms consisted of commonly used nouns. These lexical borrowings may have been more extensive in the past since a few words that Zaborski (1967:122) observed in the older literature were absent in Agostini's later work.[59] In addition, the majority of personal names are derived from Arabic.[61] The Somali language
Somali language
also contains a few Indo-European loanwords that were retained from the colonial period.[14] Most of these lexical borrowings come from English & Italian and are used to describe new objects or modern concepts (e.g. telefishen-ka, "television"; raadia-ha, "radio").[62] There are as well 300 directly Romance loans, such as garawati for "tie" (from the Italian cravatta), and bilyeti-ga for "ticket" (from the French billet).[62] Indeed the most used loanwords from the Italian are "ciao" as a friendly salute, "dimuqraadi" from Italian "democratico" (democratic), "mikroskoob" from "microscopio (microscope), "Jalaato" from "gelato" (ice cream), "baasto" from "pasta" (pasta), "bataate" from "patate" (potato), "bistoolad" from "pistol" (pistol), "fiyoore" from "fiore" (flower) and "injinyeer" from "ingegnere" (engineer)[63]. Furthermore, all the months in Somalian language are loan worded from the Italian, like "Febraayo" that comes from "febbraio" (February). Additionally, Somali contains lexical terms from Persian, Urdu
and Hindi
that were acquired through historical trade with communities in the Near East
Near East
and South Asia
South Asia
(e.g. khiyaar "cucumber" from Persian: خيار‎ khiyār).[62] Some of these words were also borrowed indirectly via Arabic.[62][64] As part of a broader governmental effort to ensure and safeguard the primacy of the Somali language, the past few decades has seen a push in Somalia
toward replacement of loanwords in general with their Somali equivalents or neologisms. To this end, the Supreme Revolutionary Council during its tenure officially prohibited the borrowing and use of English and Italian terms.[14] Writing system[edit] Main article: Somali alphabets

The Osmanya writing script for Somali.

Archaeological excavations and research in Somalia
uncovered ancient inscriptions in a distinct writing system.[65] In an 1878 report to the Royal Geographical Society
Royal Geographical Society
of Great Britain, scientist Johann Maria Hildebrandt noted upon visiting the area that "we know from ancient authors that these districts, at present so desert, were formerly populous and civilised[...] I also discovered ancient ruins and rock-inscriptions both in pictures and characters[...] These have hitherto not been deciphered."[66] According to Somalia's Ministry of Information and National Guidance, this script represents the earliest written attestation of Somali.[65] Besides Ahmed's Latin script, other orthographies that have been used for centuries for writing the Somali language
Somali language
include the long-established Arabic script
Arabic script
and Wadaad writing.[67] According to Bogumił Andrzejewski, this usage was limited to Somali clerics and their associates, as sheikhs preferred to write in the liturgical Arabic
language. Various such historical manuscripts in Somali nonetheless exist, which mainly consist of Islamic poems (qasidas), recitations and chants.[68] Among these texts are the Somali poems by Sheikh Uways and Sheikh Ismaaciil Faarah. The rest of the existing historical literature in Somali principally consists of translations of documents from Arabic.[69] Since then a number of writing systems have been used for transcribing the Somali language. Of these, the Somali Latin alphabet, officially adopted in 1972, is the most widely used and the official.[70] The script was developed by the Somali linguist Shire Jama Ahmed specifically for the Somali language, and uses all letters of the English Latin alphabet except p, v and z. There are no diacritics or other special characters except the use of the apostrophe for the glottal stop, which does not occur word-initially. There are three consonant digraphs: DH, KH and SH. Tone is not marked, and front and back vowels are not distinguished. Writing systems developed in the twentieth century include the Osmanya, Borama and Kaddare alphabets, which were invented by Osman Yusuf Kenadid, Abdurahman Sheikh Nuur and Hussein Sheikh Ahmed Kaddare, respectively.[71] Sample text[edit] Numbers[edit]

English Somali

One kow

Two laba

Three saddex

Four afar

Five shan

Six lix

Seven toddoba

Eight siddeed

Nine sagaal

Ten toban

English Somali

Eleven kow iyo toban

Twelve laba iyo toban

Thirteen saddex iyo toban

Fourteen afar iyo toban

Fifteen shan iyo toban

Sixteen lix iyo toban

Seventeen toddoba iyo toban

Eighteen siddeed iyo toban

Nineteen sagaal iyo toban

Twenty labaatan

English Somali

Thirty soddon

Forty afartan

Fifty konton

Sixty lixdan

Seventy todobaatan

Eighty siddeetan

Ninety sagaashan

English Somali

One hundred boqol

One thousand kun

One million malyuun

One billion bilyan

Days of the week[edit]

English Somali

Sunday Axad

Monday Isniin

Tuesday Talaado

Wednesday Arbaco

Thursday Khamiis

Friday Jimco

Saturday Sabti

Months of the year[edit]

Italian Somali

Gennaio Janaayo

Febbraio Febraayo

Marzo Maarso

Aprile Abriil

Maggio Maajo

Giugno Juun

Italian Somali

Luglio Luuliyo

Agosto Agoosto

Settembre Sebteembar

Ottobre Oktoobar

Novembre Nofeembar

Dicembre Diseembar

See also[edit]

Languages of Djibouti Languages of Somalia Somali Sign Language Somalian literature Somali Studies Somali Latin alphabet


^ "Somali alphabets, pronunciation and language". Omniglot. Retrieved 16 June 2017.  ^ Somali at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Somali". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Jones, Daniel (2003) [1917], Peter Roach, James Hartmann and Jane Setter, eds., English Pronouncing Dictionary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 3-12-539683-2 CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ "Somali". Collins Dictionary.  Retrieved on 21 September 2013 ^ Saeed (1999:107) ^ http://www.somalilandlaw.com/Somaliland_Constitution_Text_only_Eng_IJSLL.pdf Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland ^ Lewis (1998:11) ^ a b Lecarme & Maury (1987:22) ^ a b c Dubnov (2003:9) ^ Saeed (1999:3) ^ a b c "Somali". SIL International. 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2013.  ^ "The Federal Republic of Somalia
- Provisional Constitution" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.  ^ a b c Ammon & Hellinger (1992:128–131) ^ a b Dubnov (2003:10) ^ "Somali Media Mapping Report" (PDF). Somali Media Mapping. Retrieved 31 August 2014. [permanent dead link] ^ Kizitus Mpoche, Tennu Mbuh, eds. (2006). Language, literature, and identity. Cuvillier. pp. 163–164. ISBN 3-86537-839-0. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ " Ethnologue
- Djibouti
- Languages". Ethnologue. Retrieved 25 April 2013.  ^ " Regional Somali Language Academy Launched in Djibouti". COMESA Regional Investment Agency. Retrieved 28 February 2014.  ^ " Google Translate
Google Translate
- now in 80 languages". Google Translate. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013.  ^ a b c Dalby (1998:571) ^ a b Lamberti, Marcello (1986). Map of Somali dialects in the Somali Democratic Republic (PDF). H. Buske. ISBN 9783871186905.  ^ Mundus, Volumes 23-24. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft. 1987. p. 205.  ^ Andrzejewski & Lewis (1964:6) ^ Lamberti, Marcello (1986). Map of Somali dialects in the Somali Democratic Republic (PDF). H. Buske. ISBN 9783871186905.  ^ a b c Saeed (1999:4) ^ a b "Maay - A language of Somalia". Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 May 2013.  ^ Abdullahi (2001:9) ^ Lewis, I. M. (1998-01-01). Saints and Somalis: Popular Islam in a Clan-based Society. The Red Sea Press. p. 74. ISBN 9781569021033.  ^ "Report Somalia: Language situation and dialects" (PDF). Country of Origin Information Centre (Landinfo). 2011. p. 6.  ^ Somali nationalism: international politics and the drive for unity in the Horn of Africa. Department of Linguistics and the African Studies Center, University of California, Los Anglos. 2006. p. 24.  Check date values in: year= / date= mismatch (help) ^ Saeed (1999:7) ^ Saeed (1999:7–10) ^ Gabbard (2010:6) ^ a b Saeed (1999:8) ^ Gabbard (2010:14) ^ Edmondson, Esling & Harris (n.d.:5) ^ Keith Brown, Sarah Ogilvie (2010). Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Elsevier. p. 987. ISBN 0080877753.  ^ Andrzejewski, Bogumit Witalis (1954). "Is Somali a Tone-language?", Proceedings of the Twenty-Third International Congress of Orientalists. Royal Asiatic Society. pp. 367–368. Retrieved 26 May 2017.  ^ Banti, Giorgio (1988). "Two Cushitic Systems: Somali and Oromo nouns", Autosegmental Studies on Pitch Accent (PDF). Walter de Gruyter. pp. 11–50. ISBN 3110874261. Retrieved 26 May 2017.  ^ Dubnov (2003:11) ^ Kraska, Iwona (2007). Analogy: the relation between lexicon and grammar. Lincom Europa. p. 140. ISBN 3895868981.  ^ a b Saeed (1999:21) ^ Saeed (1999:19) ^ a b c Saeed (1999:68) ^ Saeed (1999:72) ^ Weninger (2011:43) ^ a b Tosco, Mauro; Department of Anthropology; Indiana University (2000). "Is There an "Ethiopian Language Area"?". Anthropological Linguistics. 42 (3): 349. Retrieved 8 May 2013.  ^ Zwicky & Pullum (1983:389) ^ John I. Saeed (1984). The Syntax of Focus & Topic in Somali. H. Buske. p. 66. ISBN 3871186724.  ^ a b c Heine & Nurse (2000:253) ^ Klaus Wedekind, Charlotte Wedekind, Abuzeinab Musa (2007). A learner's grammar of Beja (East Sudan): grammar, texts and vocabulary (Beja-English and English-Beja). Rüdiger Köppe Verlag. p. 10. ISBN 3896455729.  ^ Saeed (1999:164, 173) ^ Fisiak (1997:53) ^ Saeed (1999:117) ^ Saeed (1999:240) ^ a b Dubnov (2003:71) ^ Laitin (1977:25) ^ a b Versteegh (2008:273) ^ Saeed (1999:5) ^ Saeed (1999:2) ^ a b c d Dubnov (2003:73) ^ Italian and English Loanwords in Somali, by Alberto Mioni ^ Sheik-ʻAbdi (1993:45) ^ a b Ministry of Information and National Guidance, Somalia, The writing of the Somali language, (Ministry of Information and National Guidance: 1974), p.5 ^ Royal Geographical Society
Royal Geographical Society
(Great Britain), Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 22, "Mr. J. M. Hildebrandt on his Travels in East Africa", (Edward Stanford: 1878), p. 447. ^ "Omniglot - Somali writing scripts". Omniglot. Retrieved 8 May 2013.  ^ Andrezewski, B. W. In Praise of Somali Literature. Lulu. pp. 130–131. ISBN 1291454535. Retrieved 17 January 2015.  ^ Andrezewski, B. W. In Praise of Somali Literature. Lulu. p. 232. ISBN 1291454535. Retrieved 17 January 2015.  ^ Economist Intelligence Unit (Great Britain), Middle East
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annual review, (1975), p.229 ^ Laitin (1977:86–87)


Abdullahi, Mohamed Diriye (2001). Culture and Customs of Somalia. Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-31333-2.  Ammon, Ulrich; Hellinger, Marlis (1992). Status Change of Languages. Walter de Gruyter.  Andrzejewski, B.; Lewis, I. (1964). Somali poetry: an introduction. Clarendon Press.  Dalby, Andrew (1998). Dictionary of languages: the definitive reference to more than 400 languages. Columbia University Press.  Dubnov, Helena (2003). A Grammatical Sketch of Somali. Koln: Rudiger Koppe Verlag.  Edmondson, Jerold; Esling, John; Harris, Jimmy (n.d.), Supraglottal cavity shape, linguistic register, and other phonetic features of Somali (PDF)  Fisiak, Jacek (1997). Linguistic reconstruction and typology. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-014905-0.  Gabbard, Kevin (2010), A Phonological Analysis of Somali and the Guttural Consonants (PDF)  Heine, Bernd; Nurse, Derek (2000). African Languages: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66629-9.  Laitin, David (1977). Politics, Language, and Thought: The Somali Experience. University Of Chicago Press.  Lecarme, Jacqueline; Maury, Carole (1987). "A software tool for research in linguistics and lexicography: Application to Somali". Computers and Translation. Paradigm Press. 2.  Lewis, I. (1998). Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho. Red Sea Press.  Saeed, John (1999). Somali. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. ISBN 1-55619-224-X.  Sheik-ʻAbdi, ʻAbdi ʻAbdulqadir (1993). Divine madness: Moḥammed ʻAbdulle Ḥassan (1856-1920). Zed Books.  Versteegh, Kees (2008). Encyclopedia of Arabic
language and linguistics, Volume 4. Brill. ISBN 9004144765.  Weninger, Stefan (2011). Semitic Languages: An International Handbook. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-025158-6.  Zwicky, Arnold; Pullum, Geoffrey (1983). "Phonology in Syntax: The Somali Optional Agreement Rule" (PDF). Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. 1 (3): 385–402. doi:10.1007/bf00142471. 

Further reading[edit]

Abdullahi, Mohamed Diriye (2000). Le Somali, dialectes et histoire. Ph.D. dissertation, Université de Montréal. Armstrong, L.E. (1964). "The phonetic structure of Somali," Mitteilungen des Seminars für Orientalische Sprachen Berlin 37/3:116-161. Bell, C.R.V. (1953). The Somali Language. London: Longmans, Green & Co. Berchem, Jörg (1991). Referenzgrammatik des Somali. Köln: Omimee. Cardona, G.R. (1981). "Profilo fonologico del somalo," Fonologia e lessico. Ed. G.R. Cardona & F. Agostini. Rome: Dipartimento per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo; Comitato Tecnico Linguistico per l'Università Nazionale Somala, Ministero degli Affari Esteri. Volume 1, pages 3–26. Dobnova, Elena Z. (1990). Sovremennyj somalijskij jazyk. Moskva: Nauka. Puglielli, Annarita (1997). "Somali Phonology," Phonologies of Asia and Africa, Volume 1. Ed. Alan S. Kaye. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns. Pages 521-535. Lamberti, M. (1986). Die Somali-Dialekte. Hamburg: Buske. Lamberti, M. (1986). Map of the Somali-Dialects in the Somali Democratic Republic. Hamburg: Buske. Saeed, John Ibrahim (1987). Somali Reference Grammar. Springfield, VA: Dunwoody Press.

External links[edit]

Somali edition of, the free encyclopedia

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Somali phrasebook.

Somali Language Page: Resources, links and information on the Somali language. Hooyo.Web - Somali Grammar Bibliographies on Somali language
Somali language
resources Learn101 - Learn Somali Digital Dialects - Somali language
Somali language
learning games Enhancing the Quality of Google Somali Translations

Links to related articles

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Somali language(s)

Major subdivisions

Central Somali


Dabarre Garre Jiiddu Tunni


Costal Somali

Ashraf Benadiri

Northen Somali

Northen Darod Lower Juba

v t e

Cushitic languages




Awngi Bilen Qimant

Kayla Qwara


Highland East

Alaba Burji Gedeo Hadiyya Kambaata Libido Sidamo

Lowland East


Afar Saho


Borana Eastern Oromo Orma Oromo Waata


Bussa Dirasha Gato Konso Mashile Turo

(West) Omo–Tana

Arbore Daasanach El Molo


Baiso Boni Rendille




Boon Dahalo Girirra Yaaku


Dihina Dobase Gaba Gawwada Gergere Gollango Gorrose Harso Tsamai


Aasáx Alagwa Burunge Gorowa Iraqw Kw'adza

Italics indicate extinct languages

v t e

Major Afroasiatic languages


Kabyle Riffian Shawiya Shilha Tuareg




Afar Beja Oromo Somali


Ancient Egyptian Coptic




Akkadian Amharic Arabic
(Varieties of Arabic) Aramaic (Assyrian Neo-Aramaic) Ge'ez Hebrew Phoenician Tigrinya

Italics indicate extinct languages

v t e

Languages of Somalia

Official languages

Somali Arabic

Regional languages

Boon Central Somali


Dabarre Garre Jiiddu Tunni



Bajuni Bravanese)

Foreign languages

English Italian

Sign languages

Somali Sign Language

v t e

Languages of Djibouti

Official languages

Arabic French

Indigenous languages

Afar Somali Ta'izzi-Adeni Arabic

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Languages of Ethiopia

Official language


Regional languages


Argobba Ge'ez Gurage Harari Inor Mesqan Muher Sebat Bet Gurage Silt'e Soddo Tigrinya Zay


Afar Alaba Arbore Awngi Baiso Bussa Burji Daasanach Dirasha Gawwada Gedeo Hadiyya Kambaata Konso Libido Oromo Qimant Saho Sidamo Somali Tsamai Xamtanga


Aari Anfillo Bambassi Basketo Bench Boro Chara Dime Dizi Dorze Gamo-Gofa-Dawro Ganza Gayil Hamer-Banna Hozo Kachama-Ganjule Kafa Karo Koorete Maale Melo Nayi Oyda Seze Shekkacho Sheko Wolaytta Yemsa Zayse-Zergulla


Anuak Berta Daats'iin Gumuz Kacipo-Balesi Komo Kwama Kwegu Majang Me'en Murle Mursi Nuer Nyangatom Opuuo Shabo Suri Uduk

Sign languages

Ethiopian sign languages

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Languages of Kenya

Official languages

English Swahili

Indigenous languages


Bajuni Digo Embu Gusii Idaxo-Isuxa-Tiriki Ilwana Kamba Khayo Kikuyu Kuria Logoli Marachi Meru Nyole Pokomo Samia Suba Taita West Nyala


Aweer Burji Daasanach Dahalo El Molo Orma Oromo Rendille Somali Southern Oromo Waata Yaaku


Kipsigis Luo Maasai Naandi Ogiek Omotik Pökoot Samburu Tugen Turkana

Sign languages

Kenyan Sign Language

Authority control

LCCN: sh85124757 GND: 4120339-2 SUDOC: 027637204 BNF: cb11963592p (data) N