Zay is unwritten language. Most speakers are multilingual in Oromo, Amharic, and additional Gurage languages. The language is geographically concentrated around Lake Zway, specifically in Hera, Meki, Ziway, Fundurro Island, Tsedecha Island, and Debre Sina Island. It is endangered, with speakers migrating to the mainland adopting the Oromo language, and increasing use of Oromo by the younger generations on the Zay islands.
The word order of Zay is SOV (subject–object–verb). Attributive adjectives precede the nouns they modify. Possessives also precede nouns. Zay is a pro-drop language, with required subject-marking on the verb.
Zay has been greatly affected by contact it has had with the Oromo language. This contact has created a significant amount of lexical and grammatical change in Zay.
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