Alaba-K’abeena language

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Native to Ethiopia
Region Rift Valley southwest of Lake Shala
Native speakers
280,000 (2007 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 alw
Glottolog alab1254[2]

Alaba-K'abeena (Alaaba, Alaba, Allaaba, Halaba), also known as Wanbasana, is a Highland East Cushitic language spoken in Ethiopia in the Great Rift Valley southwest of Lake Shala, specifically in Alaba special district and the Kebena district of Gurage Zone. The literacy rate of native speakers in their language is below 1%, while their literacy rate in second languages is 8.6%; Alaba-K'abeena is taught in primary schools. It has an 81% lexical similarity with Kambaata.[1] However Fleming (1976) classifies K'abeena (also transliterated "Qebena" or "Kebena") as a dialect of Kambaata, and Blench (2006) classifies both as dialects of Kambaata. The 2007 census in Ethiopia lists Alaba and Qebena as separate languages.[3]

A collection of over 400 proverbs in this language has been published with English translations.[4]


  1. ^ a b Alaba-K'abeena at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Alaba-K'abeena". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ 2007 Census
  4. ^ Gertrud Schneider-Blum. 2009. máakut(i) t'awá shuultáa - Proverbs Finish the Problems. Sayings of the Alaaba (Ethiopia). 114 pp. (Verbal Art and Documentary Literature in African Languages vol.28). Rüdiger Köppe.


  • Joachim Crass. 2005. "Das K'abeena, Deskriptive Grammatik einer hochlandostkuschitischen Sprache", Cushitic Language Studies, 23. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
  • Gertrud Schneider-Blum. 2007. "A Grammar of Alaaba, A Highland East Cushitic Language of Ethiopia", Cushitic Language Studies, 25. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.