Mesmes language

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Native to Ethiopia
Extinct ca. 2000[citation needed]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mys
Glottolog mesm1243[1]

The Mesmes language is an extinct language, one of the West Gurage languages, a cluster of Semitic languages in Ethiopia. There are still many people who claim the Mesmes ethnic identity, but none who speak the language. The last speaker of the language was interviewed by a language survey team when he was approximately 80 years old. He had not spoken the language for 30 years, having nobody to speak it with when his brother had died.

The Mesmes have shifted to speaking the Hadiyya language, but they still maintain some cultural distinctives, including distinctive house architecture.

The comparative method has shown that the language is most closely related to the Inor variety of Gurage.[2]


  • Ahland, Michael Bryan. (2010). Language death in Mesmes. Dallas: SIL International and the University of Texas at Arlington.
  • Bustorf, Dirk. (2007). "Mäsmäs”, in: Siegbert Uhlig (ed.): Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, vol. 3: D-Ha, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, p. 838-39.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mesmes". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Ahland (2010), p. 88