Languages of Djibouti
|Languages of Djibouti|
Bilingual sign in French and Arabic at the Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport.
|Official languages||French, Arabic|
|Indigenous languages||Somali, Afar, Ta'izzi-Adeni Arabic|
|Common keyboard layouts||
The languages of Djibouti include Arabic and French (official), and Somali and Afar (primary). Modified versions of the Latin script as well as Arabic are the main orthographies.
Djibouti is a multilingual country. According to Ethnologue, the majority of the population speaks Somali (297,200 speakers) or Afar (99,200 speakers) as a first language, which are the mother tongues of the Somali and Afar ethnic groups, respectively. Both languages belong to the larger Afro-Asiatic family.
There are two official languages in Djibouti: Arabic (Afro-Asiatic) and French (Indo-European). Arabic is of social, cultural and religious importance. In formal settings, it consists of Modern Standard Arabic. Colloquially, about 36,000 local residents speak the Ta'izzi-Adeni Arabic dialect, also known as Djibouti Arabic. French was inherited from the colonial period and is the primary language of instruction. About 10,200 Djiboutians speak it as a first language.
Nationally, the Latin script is the most widely used orthography for all languages. The Somali alphabet, a modified form of the script, is used to write Somali. In the early 1970s, two Afar intellectuals and nationalists, Dimis and Redo, formalized a similar Afar alphabet. Known as Qafar Feera, the orthography is also based on the Latin script.
- "Djibouti". Ethnologue. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Woodford, Doreen E. "The beginning and growth of a new language - Somali Sign Language". Enabling Education Network. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "Omniglot - Somali writing scripts". Omniglot. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- "Afar (ʿAfár af)". Omniglot. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- "Development of the Afar Language". Afar Friends. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
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