Afar language

Afar language

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Afar is a Lowland East Cushitic
East Cushitic languages
The Lowland East Cushitic languages comprise two dozen languages of the Cushitic family within Afro-Asiatic. They are spoken mainly in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, and by Cushitic groups in northern Kenya....

 language spoken in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

 and Djibouti
Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

. It is believed to have 1.5 million speakers, the Afar
Afar people
The Afar , also known as the Danakil, are an ethnic group in the Horn of Africa. They primarily live in the Afar Region of Ethiopia and in northern Djibouti, although some also inhabit the southern point of Eritrea.-Early history:...

. The basic word order in Afar, like in other East Cushitic languages, is subject–object–verb. Its speakers have a literacy rate of between one and three per cent. Its closest relative is the Saho language
Saho language
The Saho language is a Cushitic language of Eritrea and Ethiopia.-Overview:It is spoken natively by the Saho people who traditionally inhabit territory in Eritrea bounded by the bay of Arafali in the east, the Laasi Ghedé valleys in the south, and the Eritrea highlands to the west .This speech area...

.

In Eritrea, Afar is recognized as one of nine national languages which formally enjoy equal status (though Tigrinya
Tigrinya language
Tigrinya , also spelled Tigrigna, Tigrnia, Tigrina, Tigriña, less commonly Tigrinian, Tigrinyan, is a Semitic language spoken by the Tigrinya people in central Eritrea , where it is one of the two main languages of Eritrea, and in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia , where it...

 and Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 are by far of greatest significance in official usage). There are daily broadcasts in the national radio and a translated version of the Eritrean constitution. In education, however, Afar speakers prefer Arabic – which many of them speak as a second language – as the language of instruction. In the Afar Region
Afar Region
Afar is one of the nine ethnic divisions of Ethiopia, and is the homeland of the Afar people. Formerly known as Region 2, its current capital is Asayita; a new capital named Semera on the paved Awash - Asseb highway is under construction....

 of Ethiopia, Afar is partially used in some of the few schools, while Amharic
Amharic language
Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia. It is the second most-spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Thus, it has official status and is used nationwide. Amharic is also the official or working...

 is the region's working language
Working language
A working language is a language that is given a unique legal status in a supra-national company, society, state or other body or organization as its primary mean of communication...

.

Consonants


The consonants of the Afar language in the standard orthography are listed below (with IPA notation in brackets):
  Labial
Labial consonant
Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

Alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Retroflex
Retroflex consonant
A retroflex consonant is a coronal consonant where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the alveolar ridge and the hard palate. They are sometimes referred to as cerebral consonants, especially in Indology...

Palatal
Palatal consonant
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Pharyngeal
Pharyngeal consonant
A pharyngeal consonant is a type of consonant which is articulated with the root of the tongue against the pharynx.-Pharyngeal consonants in the IPA:Pharyngeal consonants in the International Phonetic Alphabet :...

Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Stops
Stop consonant
In phonetics, a plosive, also known as an occlusive or an oral stop, is a stop consonant in which the vocal tract is blocked so that all airflow ceases. The occlusion may be done with the tongue , lips , and &...

voiceless     t  [t]       k  [k]    
voiced   b  [b]   d  [d]   x  [ɖ]     g  [ɡ]    
Fricatives
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

voiceless   f  [f]   s  [s]         c  [ħ]   h  [h]
voiced             q  [ʕ]  
Nasals
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

  m  [m]   n  [n]          
Approximants   w  [w]   l  [l]     y  [j]      
Tap     r  [r]        


Consonants which close syllables are released, e.g., akʰˈme.

Vowels and stress

  • short
    • a [ʌ]
    • e [e]
    • i [i]
    • o [o]
    • u [u]
  • long
    • aa [aː]
    • ee [eː]
    • ii [iː]
    • oo [oː]
    • uu [uː]


Sentence final vowels of affirmative verbs are aspirated (and stressed), e.g. = /aˈbeʰ/ 'He did.'
Sentence final vowels of negative verbs are not aspirated (nor stressed), e.g. = /ˈmaabinna/ 'He did not do.'
Sentence final vowels of interrogative verbs are lengthened (and stressed), e.g. = /aˈbeː/ 'Did he do?'
Otherwise, stress in word-final.

Phonotactics


Syllables are of the form (C)V(V)(C). One exception is the three-consonant cluster -str-.

Writing system


Afar may be written either with the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 or Ge'ez script
Ge'ez alphabet
Ge'ez , also called Ethiopic, is a script used as an abugida for several languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea but originated in an abjad used to write Ge'ez, now the liturgical language of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Church...

.

Linguists of the Institut des Langues de Djibouti, the Eritrean Ministry of Education and the Ethiopian Afar Language Studies & Enrichment Center are working to develop a standardized written version of Afar in order to facilitate alphabetization of its speakers.

Latin alphabet


A
A
A is the first letter and a vowel in the basic modern Latin alphabet. It is similar to the Ancient Greek letter Alpha, from which it derives.- Origins :...

, B
B
B is the second letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet. It is used to represent a variety of bilabial sounds , most commonly a voiced bilabial plosive.-History:...

, T
T
T is the 20th letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet. It is the most commonly used consonant and the second most common letter in the English language.- History :Taw was the last letter of the Western Semitic and Hebrew alphabets...

, S
S
S is the nineteenth letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet.-History: Semitic Šîn represented a voiceless postalveolar fricative . Greek did not have this sound, so the Greek sigma came to represent...

, E
E
E is the fifth letter and a vowel in the basic modern Latin alphabet. It is the most commonly used letter in the Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Latin, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish languages.-History:...

, C
C
Ĉ or ĉ is a consonant in Esperanto orthography, representing the sound .Esperanto orthography uses a diacritic for all four of its postalveolar consonants, as do the Latin-based Slavic alphabets...

, K
K
K is the eleventh letter of the English and basic modern Latin alphabet.-History and usage:In English, the letter K usually represents the voiceless velar plosive; this sound is also transcribed by in the International Phonetic Alphabet and X-SAMPA....

, X
X
X is the twenty-fourth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.-Uses:In mathematics, x is commonly used as the name for an independent variable or unknown value. The usage of x to represent an independent or unknown variable can be traced back to the Arabic word šay شيء = “thing,” used in Arabic...

, I
I
I is the ninth letter and a vowel in the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:In Semitic, the letter may have originated in a hieroglyph for an arm that represented a voiced pharyngeal fricative in Egyptian, but was reassigned to by Semites, because their word for "arm" began with that sound...

, D
D
D is the fourth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.- History :The Semitic letter Dâlet may have developed from the logogram for a fish or a door. There are various Egyptian hieroglyphs that might have inspired this. In Semitic, Ancient Greek, and Latin, the letter represented ; in the...

, Q
Q
Q is the seventeenth letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.- History :The Semitic sound value of Qôp was , a sound common to Semitic languages, but not found in English or most Indo-European ones...

, R
R
R is the eighteenth letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The original Semitic letter may have been inspired by an Egyptian hieroglyph for tp, "head". It was used for by Semites because in their language, the word for "head" was rêš . It developed into Greek Ρ and Latin R...

, F
F
F is the sixth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The origin of ⟨f⟩ is the Semitic letter vâv that represented a sound like or . Graphically, it originally probably depicted either a hook or a club...

, G
G
G is the seventh letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The letter 'G' was introduced in the Old Latin period as a variant of ⟨c⟩ to distinguish voiced, from voiceless, . The recorded originator of ⟨g⟩ is freedman Spurius Carvilius Ruga, the first Roman to open a fee-paying school,...

, O
O
O is the fifteenth letter and a vowel in the basic modern Latin alphabet.The letter was derived from the Semitic `Ayin , which represented a consonant, probably , the sound represented by the Arabic letter ع called `Ayn. This Semitic letter in its original form seems to have been inspired by a...

, L
L
Ł or ł, described in English as L with stroke, is a letter of the Polish, Kashubian, Sorbian, Łacinka , Łatynka , Wilamowicean, Navajo, Dene Suline, Inupiaq, Zuni, Hupa, and Dogrib alphabets, several proposed alphabets for the Venetian language, and the ISO 11940 romanization of the Thai alphabet...

, M
M
M is the thirteenth letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The letter M is derived from the Phoenician Mem, via the Greek Mu . Semitic Mem probably originally pictured water...

, N
N
N is the fourteenth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.- History of the forms :One of the most common hieroglyphs, snake, was used in Egyptian writing to stand for a sound like English ⟨J⟩, because the Egyptian word for "snake" was djet...

, U
U
U is the twenty-first letter and a vowel in the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The letter U ultimately comes from the Semitic letter Waw by way of the letter Y. See the letter Y for details....

, W
W
W is the 23rd letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.In other Germanic languages, including German, its pronunciation is similar or identical to that of English V...

, H
H
H .) is the eighth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The Semitic letter ⟨ח⟩ most likely represented the voiceless pharyngeal fricative . The form of the letter probably stood for a fence or posts....

, Y
Y
Y is the twenty-fifth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet and represents either a vowel or a consonant in English.-Name:In Latin, Y was named Y Graeca "Greek Y". This was pronounced as I Graeca "Greek I", since Latin speakers had trouble pronouncing , which was not a native sound...



a, ba, ta, sa, e, ca, ka, xa, i, da, qa, ra, fa, ga, o, la, ma, na, u, wa, ha, ya

See also


  • Afar people
    Afar people
    The Afar , also known as the Danakil, are an ethnic group in the Horn of Africa. They primarily live in the Afar Region of Ethiopia and in northern Djibouti, although some also inhabit the southern point of Eritrea.-Early history:...

  • Afar Region
    Afar Region
    Afar is one of the nine ethnic divisions of Ethiopia, and is the homeland of the Afar people. Formerly known as Region 2, its current capital is Asayita; a new capital named Semera on the paved Awash - Asseb highway is under construction....




External links