An Overview of the Somali Language
Somali is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken by approximately 17 million native speakers. It is the official language in Somalia and recognised as a minority language in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. Somali is an agglutinative language and has 5 basic vowels which have the front and back variation as sell as long or short versions. It has 20 pure vowel sounds and exhibits high, low and falling tones.
The History of Somali Language
Records of the Somali language date back to before 1900 and it has a unique history of linguistic influences from Arabic, English and Italian. Over the centuries, a number of various writing systems have been used to express the Somali language in writing. It is believed that an ancient Somali script existed, but it is long lost and little is known of it.
5 Somali Language Facts:
- In 1973, Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) declared Somali as Somali Democratic Republic’s primary language of administration and education.
- Somali is one of the featured languages available on Google translate as of 2013.
- The past few decades show the governmental effort to ensure the primacy of the Somali language. They replace loanwords with their Somali equivalents or neologisms and the Supreme Revolutionary Council officially prohibited the borrowing and use of English and Italian terms.
- The Somali language had no official written alphabet until October 1972 when Somali Latin alphabet was formally introduced to promote literacy.
- Pitch is phonemic in Somali but it’s still being debated whether Somali is a pitch accent or tonal language.
Learning Somali is not just exposing yourself to a beautiful language but also getting familiar with other languages like Arabic and Latin because it has all the hard sounds of Arabic language and it uses the Latin-based alphabet. Knowledge of another language opens opportunities to better job offers, promotes a deeper understanding of other cultures and enhances your communication skills.
Learning Somali with Overpass Apps
Another language learning app was recently released by Overpass.
Learn Somali Bubble Bath Game is a very addictive vocabulary game, you pick up new Somali words and phrases by popping bubbles as they float to the top of the screen. Each bubble has a Somali word or phrase and you can hear the word spoken by a native speaker. You tap on the bubble and then tap on the translation to pop it. So whether you’re planning to travel to Somalia or just want to learn another beautiful language, this language learning app will surely help you enrich your vocabulary and make learning Somali easier.
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