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Languages of Eritrea: Wikis

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Eritrea is generally considered to have nine ethno-linguistic groups. Each of these has their own language: Afar, Arabic (spoken by the Rashaida), Beja (spoken by the Hedareb), Blin, Kunama, Nara, Saho, Tigre and Tigrinya.

Eritrea does not have official languages as such, but Tigrinya and Arabic are the most used. English and Italian are widely understood and also are spoken especially by residents of the capital, Asmara. Tigrinya and Arabic were the official languages from 1952 to 1956 and continue to be the foremost languages, Tigrinya among the Christians and Arabic among the Muslims. The EPLF (Eritrean People's Liberation Front) published a large English-Tigrinya-Arabic dictionary in 1985, followed by Tigrinya-English in 1986.

As part of a gradual nullification of Eritrean autonomy under Ethiopian rule, Amharic became the official language in 1956. Today it is spoken predominately by people of Eritrean descent who were forced from their homes in Ethiopia.

A policy that primary school instruction should be available in the mother tongue has met with variable success (Woldemikael, 2003).

Ge'ez, also called Ethiopic, is the liturgical language of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church.

Contents

Language classification

Nilotic languages belong to the Nilo-Saharan language family while Cushitic and Semitic languages belong to the Afro-Asiatic language family.

Nilotic languages:

Cushitic languages:

Semitic languages:

Indo-European languages:

See also

References

External links

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