Dahalik language

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Dahalik (ዳሃሊክ)
Dahaalik, Dahalik, Dahlak
Native to Eritrea
Region Dahlak Archipelago
Native speakers
2,500 (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 dlk
Glottolog daha1247[2]

Dahalik (ዳሃሊክ [haka (na)] dahālík, "[language (of)] the people of Dahlak";[3] also Dahaalik, Dahlik, Dahlak) is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken exclusively in Eritrea. Its speech area is off the coast of Massawa, on three islands in the Dahlak Archipelago: Dahlak Kebir, Nora and Dehil. It has around 2,500 to 3,000 speakers.

Dahalik belongs to the Afro-Asiatic family's Semitic branch, a member of the Ethiosemitic group, and is closely related to Tigre and Tigrinya. It is said to be not mutually intelligible with Tigre (see Shaebia below), and, according to Simeone-Senelle,[4] is sufficiently different to be considered a separate language. However, there are those who disagree.[5]


  1. ^ Dahalik (ዳሃሊክ) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Dahalik". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Marie-Claude Simeone-Senelle: Dahālík, a newly discovered Afro-Semitic language spoken exclusively in Eritrea (PDF), in: shaebia.org, 2005
  4. ^ *Simeone-Senelle, Marie-Claude. 2000. 'Situation linguistique dans le sud de l'Erythrée', in Wolff/Gensler (eds) Proceedings of the 2nd World Congress of African Linguistics, 1997, Köln: Köppe, p. 261–276.
  5. ^ Idris, S. M. 2012. Dahalik: An Endangered Language or a Tigre Variety? Journal of Eritrean Studies 6 (1): 51–74.

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