|Native to||Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti|
|Region||Horn of Africa|
|1.4 million (2007)|
|Ethiopic (in Ethiopia), Latin, Arabic|
Recognised minority language in
The Afar language (Afar: 'Qafár af') (also known as Adal, ’Afar Af, Afaraf, Qafar) is an Afro-Asiatic language, belonging to the family's Cushitic branch. It is spoken by the Afar people in Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Afar is classified within the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. It is further categorized in the Lowland East Cushitic sub-group, along with Saho and Somali. Its closest relative is the Saho language.
In Eritrea, Afar is recognized as one of nine national languages which formally enjoy equal status (though Tigrinya and Arabic are by far of greatest significance in official usage). There are daily broadcasts on 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 of Ethiopia, Afar is also recognized as an official working language.
The consonants of the Afar language in the standard orthography are listed below (with IPA notation in brackets):
|Stops||voiceless||t [t]||k [k]|
|voiced||b [b]||d [d]||x [ɖ]||g [ɡ]|
|Fricatives||voiceless||f [f]||s [s]||c [ħ]||h [h]|
|Nasals||m [m]||n [n]|
|Approximants||w [w]||l [l]||y [j]|
Voiceless stop consonants which close syllables are released, e.g., [ʌkʰˈme].
Vowels and stress
- a [ʌ]
- e [e]
- i [i]
- o [o]
- u [u]
- aa [aː]
- ee [eː]
- ii [iː]
- oo [oː]
- uu [uː]
Sentence final vowels of affirmative verbs are aspirated (and stressed), e.g. abeh = /aˈbeʰ/ 'He did.' Sentence final vowels of negative verbs are not aspirated (nor stressed), e.g. maabinna = /ˈmaabinna/ 'He did not do.' Sentence final vowels of interrogative verbs are lengthened (and stressed), e.g. abee? = /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-.
In Ethiopia, Afar is written with the Ethiopic or Ge'ez script. Since around 1849, the Latin script has been used in other areas to transcribe the language. Additionally, Afar is also transcribed using the Arabic script.
In the early 1970s, two Afar intellectuals and nationalists, Dimis and Redo, formalized the Afar alphabet. Known as Qafar Feera, the orthography is based on the Latin script.
Officials from the Institut des Langues de Djibouti, the Eritrean Ministry of Education, and the Ethiopian Afar Language Studies and Enrichment Center have since worked with Afar linguists, authors and community representatives to select a standard orthography for Afar from among the various existing writing systems used to transcribe the language.
|For a list of words relating to in Afar, see the Afar language category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Afar reference at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- Lewis, I. (1998). Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho. Red Sea Press. p. 11.
- "Afar language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- Simeone-Senelle, Marie-Claude. "Les langues en Erythrée". Chroniques Yeménites 8, 2000 (in French). Cy.revues.org.
- Kizitus Mpoche, Tennu Mbuh, eds. (2006). Language, literature, and identity. Cuvillier. pp. 163–164. ISBN 3-86537-839-0.
- "Development of the Afar Language". Afar Friends. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- "Afar (ʿAfár af)". Omniglot. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- "Alphabet". Afaraf. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
- 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. ISBN 0-88312-083-6.
- 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.
|Afar language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|