Maybe you are not so familiar with Somali language, but you are probably quite familiar with news about Somalia. We hear news about “Somalia” every once in a while. What on earth is this mysterious country? Let us have a look.
The Republic of Somalia is located on the Somali Peninsula in the eastern part of the African continent. It has an area of around 630,000 square kilometers, with the Gulf of Aden in the north, the Indian Ocean in the east, Kenya and Ethiopia towards the west, and Djibouti in the northwest.
Early in the 13th century, Somalia had established a feudal empire. Since 1840, the British, Italian and French colonialists invaded in succession and divided its territory. After the World War II, in 1960, the UK and Italy are forced to agree on the independence of the British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. On July 1st of the same year, these two places united and founded the Republic of Somali. On October 21, 1969, it was renamed as “Somali Democratic Republic”.
Somalia has a population of nearly 10,400,000.
The official language is Somali and Arabic. Somali has been the national language since the year of 1972, and it adopts Latin alphabet.
And what is Somali language?
The Somali language is a member of East Cushitic branch of Afro-Asiatic language family. It is spoken by ethnic Somalis in Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Yemen and Kenya and by Somali Diasporas.
How many people speak Somali in the world?
The exact number of Somali speakers is unknown to us. It is estimated by one reliable source that there are 7.78 million speakers of Somali in Somalia and 12.65 million speakers around the world. However, according to Gordon in 2005, about 13 million people speak Somali; at most 25 million people are estimated to speak this language.
Somali sounds and phonology
Somali has twenty-two consonant phonemes and five basic vowel sounds. Each of the vowels has both front and back variations as well as long and short versions, which constitute twenty distinct vowel sounds. Besides, there are 3 tones as well: high, low and falling.
Somali is a kind of agglutinative language, which uses a lot of markers for case, gender and number.
What’s the difference between Somali language and Indo-European language? The chrematistic differences include multiple forms of most personal pronouns, extensive use of tones, gender polarity and particles.
Somali contains a number of loan words from Persian, Arabic, English and Italian (former colonial languages). After it became official language and widely used by government and education system, a large number of neologisms were created.
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