Suri language

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Native toEthiopia
RegionBench Maji Zone
EthnicitySuri, Tirma
Native speakers
27,000 (2007 census)[1]
  • Tirma
  • Chai
Language codes
ISO 639-3suq

Suri (Churi, Dhuri, Shuri, Shuro), is a Nilo-Saharan Eastern Sudanic language, of the Surmic grouping. It is spoken in the Bench Maji Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR) in Ethiopia, to the South Sudan border, and across the border in South Sudan by the Suri. The language has over 80% lexical similarity to Mursi.[3] The language is often referred to by another form of its name, Surma, after which the Surmic branch of Eastern Sudanic is named, but that form is frequently used for the three related languages spoken by the Surma people: Suri, Mursi, and Me'en.

Suri is spoken in two dialect by two nationalities, the Tirma (Tirmaga, Cirma, Dirma, Terema, Terna, Tid, Tirima, Tirmagi) and the Chai (Caci, Cai).


  1. ^ Ethiopia 2007 Census
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Suri". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Suri language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)


  • Abbink, Jon, Michael Bryant & Daniel Bambu. 2013. Suri Orature: An Introduction to the Society, Language and Oral Culture of the Suri People (Southwest Ethiopia). Cologne: R. Köppe Publishers, 203 pp..
  • Bryant, Mike and Bargola Olekibo, compilers. 1997. Surichen ko aranjacan ko golacan (Suri–English–Amharic dictionary). 2nd ed. S.l.: Surma Translation Project. 65 p.
  • Bryant, Michael G. 1999. Aspects of Tirmaga Grammar. MA thesis. University of Texas, Arlington.
  • Last, Marco and Deborah Lucassen. 1998. "A Grammatical Sketch on Chai, a Southeastern Surmic Language". in: Dimmendaal, Gerrit and Marco Last (eds.) Surmic Languages and Cultures. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Köln. pp. 375–436.
  • Unseth, Peter. 1997. "Disentangling the Two Languages Called 'Suri'". Occasional Papers in the Study of Sudanese Languages 7: 49-69.
  • Last, Marco and Deborah Lucassen. 1998. "Violence and Political Discourse Among the Chai Suri". in: Dimmendaal, Gerrit and Marco Last (eds.) Surmic Languages and Cultures. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Köln. pp. 323.

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