Afar language

Spoken in

  • Afro-Asiatic languages Cushitic languages Ostkuschitisch Tieflandostkuschitisch Saho - Afar Afar




Afar ( proper name Safar, AF or ʿ Afar - AF) is a language from the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, which is spoken by about one and a half million people by the people of Afar in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

The Afar is closely related to the Saho. In the northern area of the Afar region, contacts with the Saho, and mixed marriages and the close proximity there is mutual influence of these languages ​​, so sometimes from " Afar - Saho " is defined as a single language the speech. However, this does not reflect the linguistic reality and the self- understanding of the speaker.

Afar has a word order of subject-object - verb form. The emphasis is meaningless distinctive, for example, between Awka ( " Young " ) and Awka ( " girl ").


The language is an oral tradition ever since, including an extensive poetry. There is very little written material on Afar. The literacy rate of the Afar speaker is with a percentage in their native language and three percent in a second language (usually Arabic ) is very low.

Linguists aim to standardize the language in order to promote their Verschriftung and the literacy of its speakers. Such efforts are supported by the Institut des Langues de Djibouti, the Ministry of Education of Eritrea and the Afar Language Studies & Enrichment Center in Ethiopia. As early as 1976, the two Afar ʿ Abdallah Hamad Hamad Dimi and ʿ Abdulkāder Mahomet had developed a redo Afar orthography of the Latin alphabet, which since then is used for official purposes, for newspapers and private letters.


In the Afar region of Ethiopia Afar is used partly as a language of instruction in the few schools, however, the working language of the region was initially Amharic. 2010 identifies the site of the Ethiopian Parliament Afar as a regional working language. Since 2008 there is a program in the Ethiopian Afar television.

In Eritrea, Afar is next eight other " national languages ​​" recognized officially, but in practice it is mainly Tigrinya and Arabic for official purposes. There are shipments on Afar in the national radio station and a translation of the Constitution. As the language of the Afar often prefer Arabic instead of Afar, which is distributed as a second language and traffic.

In Djibouti, the French gaining importance as it is the official language and used accordingly in the schools. The official language and education policy aims, teaching in French as well as in Somali and Afar - the mother tongues of most Dschibutier - hold and in Arabic, but French is in fact almost the sole language of education. The French language has also influenced the Afar spoken in Djibouti. The national radio broadcasts in all four languages ​​. In Islamic ( Shari'a ) customary law and courts that exist alongside the functioning French-style justice, especially Arabic, Somali and Afar are used.