Monday, April 24, 2017

Names For The Days Of The Week In Five Afroasiatic Languages That Are Spoken In Ethiopia

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about Ethiopia, Northeast Africa. This post also provides information and lists for names of days of the week in five major Afroasiatic languages in Ethiopia: Amharic, Oromo, Sidaama (Sidama, Sidamo), Somali, and Tigrinya.

Some of these languages may also be spoken in certain other surrounding nations. That information is provided in the summaries that are given below about those languages.

This post is part of an ongoing pancocojams series that provides information about and lists for day names in various African languages. Click the "African languages days of the week" tag to find other posts in this ongoing series.

The content of this post is presented for linguistic, cultural, and educational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

Excerpt #1:
"Ethiopia ... officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia ... is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With nearly 100 million inhabitants,[3] Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populous nation on the African continent after Nigeria. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi), and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.[3]

Some of the oldest evidence for anatomically modern humans has been found in Ethiopia.[9] It is widely considered as the region from which modern humans first set out for the Middle East and places beyond.[10][11][12] According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations settled in the Horn region during the ensuing Neolithic era.[13] Tracing its roots to the 2nd millennium BC, Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history. During the first centuries AD, the Kingdom of Aksum maintained a unified civilization in the region,[14][15][16][17] followed by the Ethiopian Empire circa 1137. Ethiopia derived prestige with its uniquely successful military resistance during the late 19th-century Scramble for Africa, becoming the only African country to defeat a European colonial power and retain its sovereignty. Subsequently, many African nations adopted the colors of Ethiopia's flag following their independence.* It was the first independent African member of the 20th-century League of Nations and the United Nations.


According to Ethnologue, there are ninety individual languages spoken in Ethiopia.[182] Most people in the country speak Afroasiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches. The former includes Oromiffa, spoken by the Oromo, and Somali, spoken by the Somalis; the latter includes Amharic, spoken by the Amhara, and Tigrinya, spoken by the Tigrayans. Together, these four groups make up about three-quarters of Ethiopia's population. Other Afroasiatic languages with a significant number of speakers include the Cushitic Sidamo, Afar, Hadiyya and Agaw languages, as well as the Semitic Gurage languages, Harari, Silt'e, Argobba languages.[5] Arabic, which also belongs to the Afroasiatic family, is likewise spoken in some areas.[183]

Additionally, Omotic languages are spoken by Omotic ethnic minority groups inhabiting the southern regions. Among these idioms are Aari, Bench, Dime, Dizin, Gamo-Gofa-Dawro, Maale, Hamer, and Wolaytta.[5]
Languages from the Nilo-Saharan family are also spoken by ethnic minorities concentrated in the southwestern parts of the country. These languages include Nuer, Anuak, Nyangatom, Majang, Suri, Me'en, and Mursi.[5]

English is the most widely spoken foreign language, and is the medium of instruction in secondary schools. Amharic was the language of primary school instruction, but has been replaced in many areas by regional languages such as Oromiffa, Somali or Tigrinya.[184] While all languages enjoy equal state recognition in the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia, Amharic is recognized as the official working language of the Federal Government.[1] The various regions of Ethiopia and chartered cities are free to determine their own working languages."....


Languages of Ethiopia as of 2007 Census.[5]
Oromo (33.80%)
Amharic (29.33%)
Somali (6.25%)
Tigrinya (5.86%)
Sidamo (4.04%)
Wolaytta (2.21%)
Gurage (2.01%)
Afar (1.74%)
Hadiyya (1.70%)
Gamo-Gofa-Dawro (1.45%)
Other (11.61%)
* From
"Many African countries adopted the colours of the Ethiopian flag on their flags when they achieved independence which, together with black, became known as the Pan-African colours."

Excerpt #2
"The Horn of Africa ... is a peninsula in Northeast Africa. It juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, lying along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. The area is the easternmost projection of the African continent. The Horn of Africa denotes the region containing the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.[1][2][3][4]


Ethnicity and languages
Besides sharing similar geographic endowments, the countries of the Horn of Africa are, for the most part, linguistically and ethnically linked together,[4] evincing a complex pattern of interrelationships among the various groups.[79]

According to Ethnologue, there are 10 individual languages spoken in Djibouti, 14 in Eritrea, 90 in Ethiopia, and 15 in Somalia.[80] Most people in the Horn speak Afroasiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches. The former includes Oromo, spoken by the Oromo people in Ethiopia, and Somali, spoken by the Somali people in Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia; the latter includes Amharic, spoken by the Amhara people of Ethiopia, and Tigrinya, spoken by the Tigrinyas of Eritrea and Tigrayans of Ethiopia, respectively. Other Afroasiatic languages with a significant number of speakers include the Cushitic Afar, Saho, Hadiyya, Sidamo and Agaw languages, as well as the Semitic Tigre, Gurage, Harari, Silt'e and Argobba tongues.[81]

Additionally, Omotic languages are spoken by Omotic communities inhabiting Ethiopia's southern regions. Among these idioms are Aari, Dizi, Gamo, Kafa, Hamer and Wolaytta.[82]

Languages belonging to the Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo families are also spoken in some areas by Nilotic and Bantu ethnic minorities, respectively. These tongues include the Nilo-Saharan Me'en and Mursi languages used in southwestern Ethiopia, and Kunama and Nara idioms spoken in parts of southern Eritrea. In the riverine and littoral areas of southern Somalia, Bajuni, Barawani, and Bantu groups also speak variants of the Niger-Congo Swahili and Mushunguli languages.[8]"...

(These languages are given in alphabetical order.)

Excerpt #1:
"Amharic (አማርኛ) ... Amharic: Amarəñña, is an Afro-Asiatic language of the Semitic branch. It is spoken as a mother tongue by the Amhara in Ethiopia. The language serves as the official working language of Ethiopia, and is also the official or working language of several of the states within the federal system.[10] Amharic is the second-most widely spoken Semitic language in the world after Arabic....

It has been the working language of courts, language of trade and everyday communications, the military, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church since the late 12th century and remains the official language of Ethiopia today.[11][12] Amharic is spoken by 22 million native speakers in Ethiopia and 15 million secondary speakers in Ethiopia.[11][1] Additionally, 3 million emigrants outside of Ethiopia speak the language. Most of the Ethiopian Jewish communities in Ethiopia and Israel speak Amharic. In Washington DC, Amharic became one of the six non-English languages in the Language Access Act of 2004, which allows government services and education in Amharic.[13] Furthermore, Amharic is considered a holy language by the Rastafari (ራስ ተፈሪ) religion and is widely used among its followers worldwide. It is the most widely spoken language in the Horn of Africa.[14]"...

Excerpt #2:
"Days of the week:
Monday - säñño ሳኞ
Tuesday - maksäñño ማክሰኞ
Wednesday - räbu / rob ረቡ / ሮብ
Thursday - amus / hamus አሙስ / ኀሙስ
Friday - arb አርብ
Saturday - k’ïdame ቅዳሜ
Sunday - ïhud እሑድ"

Oromo (Afaan Oromo)
Excerpt #1:
"Oromo ... is an Afroasiatic language. It is the most widely spoken tongue in the family's Cushitic branch. Forms of Oromo are spoken as a first language by more than 24.6 million Oromo people and neighboring peoples in Ethiopia, and by an additional half million in parts of northern and eastern Kenya.[6] It is also spoken by smaller numbers of emigrants in other African countries such as South Africa, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan. Oromo is a dialect continuum; not all varieties are mutually intelligible. The native name for the Oromo language is "Afaan Oromo", which translates to "mouth (language) of Oromo." It was formerly known as "Galla", a term now considered pejorative but still found in older literature.


About 85 percent of Oromo speakers live in Ethiopia, mainly in Oromia Region. In addition, in Somalia there are also some speakers of the language.[7] In Kenya, the Ethnologue also lists 722,000 speakers of Borana and Orma, two languages closely related to Ethiopian Oromo.[8] Within Ethiopia, Oromo is the language with the largest number of native speakers.

Within Africa, Oromo is the language with the fourth most speakers, after Arabic (if one counts the mutually unintelligible spoken forms of Arabic as a single language and assumes the same for the varieties of Oromo), Swahili, and Hausa.

Besides first language speakers, a number of members of other ethnicities who are in contact with the Oromo speak it as a second language. See for example, the Omotic-speaking Bambassi and the Nilo-Saharan-speaking Kwama in northwestern Oromiyaa.[9]


Oromo is written with a Latin alphabet called Qubee which was formally adopted in 1991.[10] Various versions of the Latin-based orthography had been used previously, mostly by Oromos outside of Ethiopia and by the OLF by the late 1970s (Heine 1986).[11] With the adoption of Qubee, it is believed more texts were written in the Oromo language between 1991 and 1997 than in the previous 100 years. In Kenya, the Borana and Waata also use Roman letters but with different systems"...
*I added italics to this sentence to highlight it.

Excerpt #2:
Days of the week [Omoro]

Monday: dafinoo / ojja duree
Tuesday: facaasaa
Wednesday: roobii
Thursday: kamisa
Friday: jimaata
Saturday: sambata xinnaa / sambata duraa
Sunday: dilbata / sambata guddaa

Sidaama (Sidama, Sidamo)
"Sidaama or Sidaamu Afoo is an Afro-Asiatic language, belonging to the Highland East Cushitic branch of the Cushitic family. It is spoken in parts of southern Ethiopia by the Sidama people, particularly in the densely populated Sidama Zone. Sidaamu Afoo is the ethnic autonym for the language, while Sidaminya is its name in Amharic. Although it is not known to have any specific dialects, it shares over 64% lexical similarity with Alaba-K'abeena, 62% with Kambaata, and 53% with Hadiyya, all of which are other languages spoken in southwestern Ethiopia.

The term Sidamo has also been used by some authors to refer to larger groupings of East Cushitic and even Omotic languages.[4] The languages within this Sidamo grouping contain similar, alternating phonological features.[5] The results from a research study conducted in 1968-1969 concerning mutual intelligibility between different Sidamo languages suggest that Sidaama is more closely related to the Gedeo language, which it shares a border with to the south, than other Sidamo languages.[6] According to the Ethnologue, the two languages share a lexical similarity of 60%.[7] Sidaama vocabulary has been influenced by Ge'ez and Amharic, and has in turn influenced Oromo vocabulary."...

Excerpt #2:
From FICHCHEE: The Sidama people’s New Year Celebration as one of the most distinguished peculiar features of the Sidama people, by MTT
Hawassa, Sidama, Ethiopia, 05 August 2013
..."Based on investigation findings of the Ayyantto (“Sidama astrologists”) and according to established calendar Sidama has a week comprising of five days. Names of days of the week were derived from market days occurring in different places and were name as Diko, Deella, Kawaado and Kawalanka respectively."...
Please add to this section on the names for days of the week in Sidaama (Sidama).

"Somali is an Afroasiatic language belonging to the Cushitic branch. It is spoken as a mother tongue by Somalis in Greater Somalia and the Somali diaspora. Somali is an official language of Somalia, a national language in Djibouti, and a working language in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. It is used as an adoptive language by a few neighboring ethnic minority groups and individuals. The Somali is written officially with the Latin alphabet.

Somali is classified within the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic family; specifically, as Lowland East Cushitic along with Afar and Saho.[6] Somali is the best-documented Cushitic language,[7] with academic studies of the language dating back to the late 19th century.[8]

Geographic distribution
Somali is spoken by Somalis in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Yemen and Kenya, and by the Somali diaspora. It is also spoken as an adoptive language by a few ethnic minority groups and individuals in these areas.
Somali is the second most widely spoken Cushitic language after Oromo.[9]

As of 2006, there were approximately 16.6 million speakers of Somali, of which around 8.3 million resided in Somalia.[10] The language is spoken by an estimated 95% of the country's inhabitants,[8] and also by a majority of the population in Djibouti.[7]

Following the start of the Somali Civil War in the early 1990s, the Somali-speaking diaspora increased in size, with newer Somali speech communities forming in parts of the Middle East, North America and Europe.[10]"...

Excerpt #2:
From Learn the Somali Language, January 6, 2010
"Days of the Week:
Isniin: Monday
Talaado : Tuesday
Arbaco : Wednesday
Khamiis : Thursday
Jimco : Friday
Sabti : Saturday
Axad : Sunday"

Excerpt #1:
"Tigrinya (often written as Tigrigna;.... is an Afroasiatic language of the Semitic branch. It is mainly spoken in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa, with around 6,915,000 total speakers. Tigrinya speakers in Ethiopia (known as Tigrayans; Tigrawot; feminine Tigrāweyti, male Tigraway, plural Tegaru) number around 4,320,000 individuals, and are centered in the northern Tigray Region. The Tigrinya speakers in Eritrea (Tigrinyas) total roughly 2,540,000, and are concentrated in the southern and central areas. Tigrinya is also spoken by emigrants from these regions, including some Beta Israel.[4]

Tigrinya should not be confused with the related Tigre language. The latter is spoken by the Tigre people, who inhabit the lowland regions of Eritrea to the north and west of the Tigrinya speech area...

Tigrinya is the third most spoken language in Ethiopia after Amharic and Oromo, and the most widely spoken language in Eritrea (see languages). It is also spoken by large immigrant communities around the world, in countries including Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. In Australia, Tigrinya is one of the languages broadcast on public radio via the multicultural Special Broadcasting Service.[11]

Tigrinya dialects differ phonetically, lexically, and grammatically.[12] No dialect appears to be accepted as a standard."...

Excerpt #2
From Days of the week in Tigrinya
"Monday - Senuy
Tuesday - Selus
Wednesday - Rebu 'a
Thursday - Hamus
Friday - Arbi
Saturday - Kadam
Sunday - Senbet"

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