Gurage languages

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East Gurage
Geographic
distribution
Gurage Zone (Ethiopia)
Linguistic classification Afro-Asiatic
Glottolog silt1239  (Silte–Wolane)[1]
zayy1238  (Zay)[2]
North Gurage
n-group
Geographic
distribution
Gurage Zone (Ethiopia)
Linguistic classification Afro-Asiatic
Glottolog ngro1237[3]
West Gurage
tt-group
Geographic
distribution
Gurage Zone (Ethiopia)
Linguistic classification Afro-Asiatic
Glottolog ttgr1237[4]

The Gurage languages (Amharic: ጉራጌ Guragē, also known as Guragie) are a group of South Ethiopic languages, which belong to the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic family. They are spoken by the Gurage people, who inhabit the Gurage Zone within the larger multi-ethnic Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region in southwestern Ethiopia.

Overview[edit]

The Gurage languages do not constitute a coherent linguistic grouping. Instead, the term is both linguistic and cultural. The Gurage people speak a number of separate languages, all belonging to the Southern subdivision of the Ethiopian Semitic languages within the Afroasiatic family, which also includes Amharic. The languages are often referred to collectively as "Guraginya" by other Ethiopians (-inya is the Amharic suffix for most Ethiopian Semitic languages).

There are three dialectically varied Gurage subgroups: Northern, Eastern and Western. East Gurage is more closely related to Amharic than to either of the other two groups.

The Gurage languages are written with the Ge'ez script. The Gurage subset of this script has 44 independent glyphs.

There is no general agreement on how many languages or dialects there are, in particular within the West Gurage grouping.

As the Gurage people are surrounded by speakers of Cushitic languages, these languages have influenced the Gurage languages perhaps even more than they have other Ethiopian Semitic languages. For example, the East Gurage languages have a ten-vowel system characteristic of the neighboring Cushitic languages rather than the seven-vowel system common to most other Ethiopian Semitic languages, including the West Gurage languages.

Languages[edit]

In the following listing, the distinction between languages and dialects follows Ethnologue.

In the Northern group
  • Soddo (Kistane)
    • Dialects: Soddo, Goggot (Dobi)
In the Eastern group
  • Silt'e (Selti; not, strictly speaking, a Gurage language, since the people do not consider themselves Gurage)
    • Dialects: Ulbare, Wolane, Inneqor
  • Zay (Zway)
In the Western group

Sebat Bet (or Sebat Beit), in particular, is best understood as a grouping in itself; the term means literally "Seven Houses," and refers to seven specific Western Gurage groups and varieties. Silt'e is more closely related to Amharic than to Soddo.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Silte–Wolane". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Zay". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "N-Group". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "TT-Group". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 

External links[edit]