Afar language

Afar language

states=Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti
nativename= _aa. Qafár af
region=Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti
speakers=1.4–1.5 million
fam3=East Cushitic
fam4=Lowland East Cushitic

Afar ( _aa. "Qafár af") is a Lowland East Cushitic language spoken in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti. It is believed to have 1.5 million speakers, the Afar. 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. [Raymond G. Gordon, Jr, ed. 2005. "Ethnologue: Languages of the World". 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.]



The consonants of the Afar language in the standard orthography are listed below (with IPA notation in brackets):

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

Vowels and stress

:* "short":** a IPA| [ʌ] :**e IPA| [e] :**i IPA| [i] :**o IPA| [o] :**u IPA| [u] :* "long":**aa IPA| [aː] :**ee IPA| [eː] :**ii IPA| [iː] :**oo IPA| [oː] :**uu IPA| [uː]

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


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 or Ge'ez script.

Latin alphabet

A, B, T, S, E, C, K, X, I, D, Q, R, F, G, O, L, M, N, U, W, H, Y

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


ee also

*Afar people
*Afar Region


* Loren F. Bliese. 1976. "Afar,", "The Non-Semitic Languages of Ethiopia". Ed. Lionel M. Bender. Ann Arbor, Michigan: African Studies Center, Michigan State University. Pages 133–164.
* Loren F. Bliese. 1981. "A generative grammar of Afar". Summer Institute of Linguistics publications in linguistics vol. 65. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics & The University of Texas at Arlington.
* J.G. Colby. 1970. "Notes on the northern dialect of the Afar language," "Journal of Ethiopian Studies" 8:1–8.
* R.J. Hayward and Enid M. Parker. 1985. "Afar-English-French dictionary with Grammatical Notes in English". London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
* Richard J. Hayward. 1998. "Qafar (West Cushitic)," "Handbook of Morphology". Ed. A. Spencer & A. Zwicky. Oxford: Blackwell. Pages 624-647.
* Didier Morin. 1997. "Poésie traditionnelle des Afars". Langues et cultures africaines, 21 / SELAF vol. 363. Paris/Louvain: Peeters.
* Enid M. Parker. 2006. "English-Afar Dictionary". Washington DC: Dunwoody Press.
* Rainer M. Voigt. 1975. "Bibliographie des Saho-Afar," "Africana Marburgensia" 8:53–63.

External links

* [ Afaraf - Méthode de langue afare] (Much information about Afar, in French)
* [ Afar Sample at Language Museum]
* [ The beginning of Genesis 1 in Afar] at The Rosetta Project.
* [ PanAfriL10n page on Afar]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Afar — may refer to: *Afar people, who principally reside in Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia *Afar Insurgency, an Ethiopian civil war of 1991 *Afar Region in Ethiopia *Afar language, one of the East Cushitic languages *Afar Explorer, a US based company… …   Wikipedia

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  • Afar Region — Afar is one of the nine ethnic divisions ( kililoch ) 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… …   Wikipedia

  • Afar-Senke — Afar Basisdaten Hauptstadt Semera Fläche 96.707 km² Einwohner …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • afar — /euh fahr /, adv. 1. from, at, or to a distance; far away (usually fol. by off): He saw the castle afar off. n. 2. from afar, from a long way off: The princess saw him riding toward her from afar. [1125 75; ME a fer, on ferr; r. OE feorran. See A …   Universalium

  • Afar — /ah fahr/, n., pl. Afars, Afara /euh fahr euh/, (esp. collectively) Afar for 1. 1. a member of a nomadic Muslim people living in Eritrea, Djibouti, and northern Ethiopia. 2. the Northern Cushitic language spoken by the Afars. Also called Danakil …   Universalium

  • Afar — [ α:fα:] noun (plural same or Afars) 1》 a member of a people living in Djibouti and NE Ethiopia. 2》 the Cushitic language of the Afars. Origin from Afar qafar …   English new terms dictionary

  • Afar — noun a) A Cushitic language spoken in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti. b) The people speaking this language and residing in these regions …   Wiktionary

  • Afar — ISO 639 3 Code : aar ISO 639 2/B Code : aar ISO 639 2/T Code : aar ISO 639 1 Code : aa Scope : Individual Language Type : Living …   Names of Languages ISO 639-3

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