Afar-Saho Languages

Afar-Saho Languages


Danakil languages, languages of the Afar peoples (northeastern Ethiopia and northern French Somaliland) and the Saho peoples (northeastern Ethiopia). They are spoken by approximately 500,000 people and belong to the Cushitic group of languages. The sound system of the Afar-Saho languages is characterized by a glot-talized velar k, retroflex d (changing to retroflex l between vowels), pharyngeal ‘ (like Arabic ’ayn), and the labialized velars gw, kw, and kw. Affixes, vocalic alternation, and reduplication of the final vowel of the root serve as the methods of inflection and word formation: in Saho the root dag “to know” generates the forms aliga “he knows,” alega “he knew,” the passive ämelegä “he was known,” the causative äselegä “he caused to know,” dag “message,” dagog “messages,” and so on. Part of the verbs retain the common Hamito-Semitic prefix-type conjugation, and others have a suffix-type conjugation, which arose from an analytical construction. The predicate occurs at the end of the sentence, and the modifier, before that which is modified.


Reinisch, L. Die Saho-Sprache, vols. 1–2. Vienna, 1889–1890.
Colizza.G. Lingua ‘Afar del Nord-Est dell’Africa. Vienna, 1887.


Mentioned in ?