West Gurage languages

East Gurage
Geographic
distribution:
Gurage Zone (Ethiopia)
Linguistic classification: Afro-Asiatic
Subdivisions:
North Gurage
Geographic
distribution:
Gurage Zone (Ethiopia)
Linguistic classification: Afro-Asiatic
Subdivisions:
West Gurage
Geographic
distribution:
Gurage Zone (Ethiopia)
Linguistic classification: Afro-Asiatic
Subdivisions:

The Gurage languages (also known as Guragie or ጉራጌ) are the languages spoken by the Gurage people, an ethnic group located in the Gurage Zone within the larger Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region, a region in southwest Ethiopia of great ethnic diversity. The Gurage languages do not constitute a coherent linguistic grouping, rather, the term is both linguistic and cultural. The Gurage people speak a number of separate languages, all belonging to the Southern branch of the Ethiopian Semitic language family (which also includes Amharic). The languages are often referred to collectively as "Guraginya" by other Ethiopians (-inya is the Amharic suffix for most Ethiopian Semitic languages).

There are three dialectically varied subgroups: Northern, Eastern and Western. East Gurage is more closely related to Amharic than to either of the other two groups.

The Gurage languages are written with the Ethiopic alphabet. The Gurage subset of Ethiopic has 44 independent glyphs.

There is no general agreement on how many languages or dialects there are, in particular within the West Gurage grouping.

As the Gurage people are surrounded by speakers of Cushitic languages, these languages have influenced the Gurage languages perhaps even more than they have other Ethiopian Semitic languages. For example, the East Gurage languages have a ten-vowel system characteristic of the neighboring Cushitic languages rather than the seven-vowel system common to most other Ethiopian Semitic languages, including the West Gurage languages.

Languages

In the following listing, the distinction between languages and dialects follows Ethnologue.

In the Northern group
  • Soddo (Kistane)
    • Dialects: Soddo, Goggot (Dobi)
In the Eastern group
  • Silt'e (Selti; not strictly speaking a Gurage language since the people do not consider themselves Gurage)
    • Dialects: Ulbare, Wolane, Inneqor
  • Zay (Zway)
In the Western group

Sebat Bet (or Sebat Beit), in particular, is best understood as a grouping in itself; the term means literally "Seven Houses," and refers to seven specific Western Gurage groups and lects. Silt'e is more closely related to Amharic than it is to Soddo.

External links

  • [1] Ethiopic Computerization by Dr. Aberra Molla
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