In Eritrea, Afar is recognized as one of nine national languages which formally enjoy equal status (although 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.
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.
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.
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.