Saho language

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Native to Eritrea, Ethiopia
Region southern and Northeast Eritrea, Tigray Province in Ethiopia
Native speakers
220,000  (2006–2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ssy
Glottolog saho1246[2]

The Saho language is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Eritrea and Ethiopia. It belongs to the family's Cushitic branch.


It is spoken natively by the Saho people who traditionally inhabit territory in Eritrea bounded by the bay of Erafayle in the east, the Laasi Ghedé valleys in the south, and the Eritrean highlands to the west (Akele Guzai, Shimejana).

This speech area is bordered by other Afro-Asiatic-speaking communities, with Tigre speakers on the west and Afar speakers on the east. In Ethiopia, Saho is primarily spoken in the Tigray Region. It has about 200,000 speakers in total and four main dialects: Toroa, Assaorta, Minifero and Irob.[3]

Saho is so closely related to the Cushitic Afar language, spoken as a mother tongue by the Afar people, that some linguists regard the two tongues as dialects of a single "Saho–Afar language".


  1. ^ Saho at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Saho". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Raymond G. Gordon, Jr, ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics. The Saho also use the Latin letters to document their history and render information. Also recently the language is being used on the cyberspace as a tool of communication. And there is on website completely designed with saho language.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • William E. Welmers. 1952. "Notes on the structure of Saaho," Word 8:145-162.