Updated Jan. 2009

 

Ethiopian and Eritrean Semitic Languages

 

The Semitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea are 14 (or 12, see note*), including extinct Ge'ez and Gafat, grouped as follows. Tigre is an Eritrean language, and Tigrinya is spoken in both Eritrea and Ethiopia. 

 

                        Group                          Language name or list of named dialects

1.                     North                           Ge'ez

                                                            Tigrinya

                                                            Tigre

2.                     South

2.1.                  Gafat                            Gafat

2.2.                  Southwest

2.2.1                Soddo group               Soddo (Kistane), Gogot (Dobbi), Galila

2.2.2.               Muher                         Muher

2.2.3.               Mesqan-Gurage*                   

2.2.3.1.            Mesqan                       Mesqan, Urib?

2.2.3.2.            Gurage                                   

2.2.3.2.1.         Chaha group                Chaha, Ezha, Gumer, Gura

2.2.3.2.2.         Inor group                   Inor (Ennemor), Enner, Endegegn, Gyeto,  Mesmes

2.3.                  Southeast

2.3.1.               Amharic-Argobba       Amharic

                                                            Argobba

2.3.2.               Harari-Silt'e                 Harari

2.3.2.2.            Silt'e-Zay

2.3.2.2.1.         Silt'e group                 Silt'e, Ulbareg, Enneqor, Welane

2.3.2.2.2.         Zay                              Zay

 

*Mesqan and Gurage varieties are perhaps mutually intelligible.

 

Selected Descriptive Work and Dictionaries

 

Amharic

Anbessa Teferra and Grover Hudson. 2007. Essentials of Amharic. Cologne: Koeppe.

Baye Yimam. 1993-4 (1986 Eth. calendar). YäAmariña Säwasïw [Grammar of Amharic] Addis Ababa: EMPDA.

Bender, M. Lionel and Hailu Fulass. 1978. Amharic Verb Morphology. East Lansing, MI: African Studies Center.

Cohen, Marcel. 1936 [repr. 1970]. Traité de langue Amharique. Paris: Institute d'Ethnologie.

Dawkins, C. H. 1969. The Fundamentals of Amharic. Addis Ababa: Sudan Interior  Mission.

Kane, Thomas L. 1990. Amharic-English Dictionary. 2 volumes. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 1976. Concise Amharic Dictionary. Berkeley: University of California  Press.

Leslau, Wolf. 1978. English-Amharic Context Dictionary. Wiesbaden: Otto Harras-sowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 1995. Reference Grammar of Amharic. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 2000. Introductory Grammar of Amharic. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

 

Argobba

Leslau, Wolf. 1997. Ethiopic Documents: Argobba Grammar and Dictionary (Aethiopistische Forschungen 47). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Wetter, Andreas. 2006. The Argobba of T'ollaha – a comparative overview. Proceedings of the XVth International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (Hamburg (2003), Siegbert Uhlig, ed., 899-907. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Zelealem Leyew. 1994. Argobba: the people and the language. SLLE Linguistic Report 22.1-13. Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University.

 

Chaha-group: Chaha, Ezha, Gura

Ford, Carolyn M. 1991. Notes on the phonology and grammar of Chaha-Gurage. Journal of Afroasiatic Languages 2(3).231-296.

Hetzron, Robert. 1977. The Gunnän-Gurage Languages.  Napoli: Istituto Orientale di Napoli.

Leslau, Wolf. 1950. Ethiopic Documents: Gurage (Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology 14). New York: Viking Fund. [Chaha]

Leslau, Wolf. 1983. Ethiopians Speak: Studies in Cultural Background. Vol. V, Chaha-Ennemor (Aethiopstische Forschungen 16). Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner. [reprinted 1992, Gurage Studies: Collected Articles, 138-152. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.]

Leslau, Wolf. 1996. Chaha and Ennemor: an analysis of two Gurage dialects, Essays on Gurage Language and Culture, Grover Hudson, ed., 111-122. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 1979. Etymological Dictionary of Gurage (Ethiopic), vols. I-III. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

 

Gafat

Leslau, Wolf. 1945. Gafat Documents: Records of a South-Ethiopic Language. New Haven: American Oriental Society.

Leslau, Wolf. 1956. Étude Descriptive et Comparative du Gafat (Ethiopien Méridional). Paris: Librairie C. Klincksieck.

 

Ge'ez

Dillmann, August. 1899. Ethiopic Grammar, 2nd ed., edited by Carl Bezold and translated by James A. Crichton. London: Williams and Norgate [reprinted 1974, Amsterdam: Philo Press].

Lambdin, Thomas O. 1978. Introduction to Classical Ethiopic (Harvard Semitic Studies 24). Cambridge, MA: Scholars Press [reprinted 2006. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.]

Leslau, Wolf. 1989. Concise Dictionary of Ge'ez (Classical Ethiopic). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 1987. Comparative Dictionary of Ge'ez. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

 

Harari

Cerulli, Enrico. 1936. La lingua e la storia di Harar. Roma: Istituto per l'Oriente.

Leslau, Wolf. 1958. The Verb in Harari (South Ethiopic) (University of California Publications in Semitic Philology XXI). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Leslau, Wolf. 1963. Etymological Dictionary of Harari (University of California Publications in Near Eastern Studies 1). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Wagner, Ewald and Abdurahman Garad. 1998. Harari-Studien: Texte mit Übersetzung, grammatischen Skizzen und Glossar. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

 

Inor-group: Inor (Ennemor), Enner, Endegegn, Gyeto, Mesmes

Chamora, Berhanu and Robert Hetzron. 2000. Inor. Munich: Lincom Europa.

Hetzron, Robert. 1977. The Gunnän-Gurage Languages.  Napoli: Istituto Orientale di Napoli.

Leslau, Wolf. 1971. The verb forms of the Gurage Dialect of Endege–. Afrikanische Sprachen und Kulturen – Ein Querschnitt (Hamburger Beiträge zur Afrika-Kunde 14), 180-187 [reprinted 1992, Gurage Studies: Collected Articles, 466-473. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz].

Leslau, Wolf. 1979. Etymological Dictionary of Gurage (Ethiopic), vols. I-III. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 1996. Chaha and Ennemor: an analysis of two Gurage dialects, Essays on Gurage Language and Culture, Grover Hudson, ed., 111-122. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

 

Mesqan

Hetzron, Robert. 1977. The Gunnän-Gurage Languages.  Napoli: Istituto Orientale di Napoli.

Leslau, Wolf. 2004. The Verb in Masqan, as Compared with other Gurage Dialects (Aethiopistische Forschungen 63). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 1979. Etymological Dictionary of Gurage (Ethiopic), vols. I-III. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Voigt, Rainer. 2006. Das verb im Mäsqan. Aethiopica 9. 164-179.

 

Muher

Hetzron, Robert. 1977. The Gunnän-Gurage Languages.  Napoli: Istituto Orientale di Napoli.

Leslau, Wolf. 1979. Etymological Dictionary of Gurage (Ethiopic), vols. I-III. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 1981. Ethiopians Speak: Studies in Cultural Background. Vol. IV, Muher. (Aethiopstische Forschungen 11). Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner. [less texts, reprinted 1992, Gurage Studies: Collected Articles, 181-224. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz].

Rose, Sharon. 1996. Allomorphy and morphological categories in Muher, Essays on Gurage Language and Culture, Grover Hudson, ed., 205-227. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

 

Silt'e-group: Silt'e, Ulbareg, Enneqor, Welane

Drewes, A. J. 1996. The story of Joseph in Sïlt'i Gurage, Essays on Gurage Language and Culture, Grover Hudson, ed., 69-92. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Gutt, Eeva H. M. and Hussein Mohammed. 1997. Silt'e-Amharic-English Dictionary. Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University Press.

Gutt, Ernst-August. 1997. Concise grammar of Silt'e, Silt'e-Amharic-English Dictionary. 895-957. Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University Press.

Leslau, Wolf. 1979. Etymological Dictionary of Gurage (Ethiopic), vols. I-III. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 1994. Outline of the verb in Wolane. Festschrift Ewald Wagner Zum 65 Geburtstag (Beiruter Texte und Studien, band 54), 141-157. Beirut.

Meyer, Ronny. 2006. Wolane: Descriptive Grammar of an East Gurage Language (Ethiosemitic). Cologne: Koeppe. (340 pp.)

 

Soddo-group: Soddo (Kistane), Gogot (Dobbi), Galila

Denberu Alemu et al. 1995 [1987 Eth. cal.]. Gogot: YäGurage Bïheräsäb Tarik, Bahïlïnna Qwanqwa [Gogot: History, Culture, and Language of the Gurage Nation]. Walqite: Culture and Sports Ministry.

Goldenberg, Gideon. 1968. Kïstanïña: studies in a northern Gurage language of Christians. Orientalia Suecana 17.62-102.

Haberland, Eike. 1960. Bemerkungen zur Kurtur und Sprache der 'Galila' im Wonci-See, Rassegna di Studi Etiopici 16.5-22.

Leslau, Wolf. 1968. Ethiopians Speak: Studies in Cultural Background. Vol. III. Soddo. (University of California Publications in Near Eastern Studies 11). Berkeley: University of California Press. [less texts, reprinted 1992, Gurage Studies: Collected Articles, 153-180. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz].

Leslau, Wolf. 1979. Etymological Dictionary of Gurage (Ethiopic), vols. I-III. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

 

Tigrinya

Amanu'el Sahle. 1998. Sewasiw Tigrinya Bes'efihu / A Comprehensive Tigrinya Grammar. Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press.

Kane, Thomas Leiper. 2000. Tigrinya-English Dictionary, 2 vols. Springfield, VA: Dunwoody Press.

Leslau, Wolf. 1941. Documents Tigringna (Éthiopien Septentrional): Grammaire et textes. Paris: Librairie C. Klincksieck.

Mulugeta G. Melles. 2001. Tigrinya Reader and Grammar. Springfield, VA: Dunwoody Press.

Tigrinya Section, Ethiopian Language Academy. 1996. Mazgaba Qalat Tegrenya baTegrenya [Tigrinya-Tigrinya dictionary]. Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Language Academy.

Voigt, Rainer. 1977. Das Tigrinische Verbalsystem. Berlin: Reimer.

 

Tigre (of Eritrea)

Leslau, Wolf. 1945. Short grammar of Tigre (Publications of the American Oriental Society Offprint Series 18). New Haven: American Oriental Society [Reprint of Journal of the American Oriental Society 65: 1-26, 164-203 (1945)].

Littmann, Enno and Maria Höfner. 1962. Wörterbuch der Tigré-Sprache. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner.

Nakano, Akio and Yoichi Tsuge (collaborator). 1982. A Vocabulary of Beni Amer Dialect of Tigré. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa.

Raz, Shlomo. 1984. Tigre Grammar and Texts (Afroasiatic Dialects 4). Malibu: Undena.

Raz, Shlomo. 1997. Tigre, The Semitic Languages, Robert Hetzron, ed., 446-456. London: Routledge.

 

Zay

Gardner, Simon and Ralph Siebert. 1994. Second SLLE survey of the Zay language area, SLLE Linguistic Report 17 (March).

Leslau, Wolf. 1979. Etymological Dictionary of Gurage (Ethiopic), vols. I-III. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Leslau, Wolf. 1999. Zway Ethiopic documents: grammar and dictionary (Aethiopstische Forschungen 51). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Meyer, Ronny. 2005. Das Zay: Deskriptive Grammatik einer Ostguragesprache (Aethiosemitisch). Cologne: Koeppe.