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Somali Language: 11 Popular Questions Answered

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Table of Contents:

  1. Where is the Somali language spoken?
  2. How old is the Somali language?
  3. How many people speak the Somali language?
  4. Where to buy a complete Somali language course
  5. Is Somali hard to learn?
  6. Is Somali different to Arabic (Arabic vs Somali)?
  7. What language is mutually intelligible to Somali?
  8. What language do Somali pirates speak?
  9. What type of language is Somali?
  10. What are the best books to learn Somali?
  11. How many Somali dialects are there?

Where is the Somali language spoken?

The Somali language is spoken in the Horn of Africa, which comprises of Somalia (where it is the national language), as well as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Djibouti.

How old is the Somali language?

The Somali language has only officially existed since the early 1900's, but being from the Cushitic subfamily of the Afroasiatic family of languages, it has developed over thousands of years to its current form.

How many people speak the Somali language?

Recent surveys suggest that there are over 8.3 million Somali speakers in Somalia, and over 16 million Somali speakers worldwide.

Where to buy a complete Somali language course

At present, the only decent and reputable Somali language course (online) is the Cudoo Somali Course. It's priced at $12.99 and covers the essentials of the Somali language for beginner learners (see the course here - once you visit the link, type in 'Somali').

Is Somali hard to learn?

Somali's difficulty is entirely subjective and dependent upon your motivation, background and experience learning languages. The Foreign Service Institutde (FSI) places Somali in Category 2 for difficulty, with Category 3 being the most difficult.

Is Somali different to Arabic (Arabic vs Somali)?

Arabic is a Semitic language, whereas Somali is a Cushitic language, so the two languages are from different families. However, given their close proximity to each other, Somali has been heavily influenced by Arabic, and Islam has had a tremendous impact on the language's development.

What language is mutually intelligible to Somali?

There are no mutually intelligible languages to Somali. Afar, Saho and Oromo are the closest languages to Somali, but a Somali cannot converse with speakers of these languages.

What language do Somali pirates speak?

Pirates from Somalia speak Somali.

What type of language is Somali?

Somali is a member of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages.

What are the best books to learn Somali?

The best book to learn Somali is without doubt, Learn Somali by Baro Af Soomaali. Another excellent book for learning Somali is Learn Somali in Context: Examples from Internet Media by H. J. Goforth.

How many Somali dialects are there?

There are 3 main dialects of Somali: 1) Northern Somali 2) Benaadir (coastal Somali) and 3) Af-Ashraaf


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Author: Sarah K.
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