Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


1. a member of a tall dark-skinned people inhabiting Somalia
2. the language of this people, belonging to the Cushitic subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages



(Somalis), a people living on the Somali Peninsula in Africa, in the Somali Democratic Republic, in neighboring parts of Ethiopia, in Kenya, in Djibouti, and in several other countries. They number about 4.9 million persons (1973, estimate) and speak Somali, a Cushitic language. The Somali are Sunni Muslims.

In the interior regions of the peninsula, elements of clan-tribal life have survived among the Somali. The main occupation is livestock raising (camels and cattle); agriculture is practiced chiefly in the Webi Shebeli and Juba river valleys. As a result of the national liberation struggle of the Somali in British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland, the sovereign Somali Republic was formed in 1960.


Rait, M. V. “Somaliitsy.” Sovetskaia etnografiia, 1959, no. 1.



the language of the Somali people. Somali is spoken in the Somali Democratic Republic, southern Djibouti, eastern Ethiopia (Ogaden), and northeastern Kenya by approximately 4.9 million people (1973, estimate). It belongs to the Cushitic group of Hamito-Semitic, or Afrasian, languages. The principal dialects are Isâk, Issa, Darod, and Hawiyya.

In Somali, vowels are opposed to one another on the basis of length, fronting, and tonal-stress pattern, which is also employed as a grammatical marker. There are many postdorsal consonants. Substantives and verbs constitute the basic word classes. Two genders and case forms are distinguished, often only by means of tone. Most substantives change gender in the plural; dependent members of the subject and object type are almost never connected. There are definite and indefinite articles. Government is preverbal; verbs are conjugated to express person, number, and tense. Object, and sometimes subject, pronouns are obligatory for the verb. In a number of archaic verbs, conjugation is of the prefixal-suffixal type, as in the Semitic languages. Inflection and word-formation are mainly suffixal.

The sentence must contain a “predicatizing” phrase particle, which logically accentuates one member of the sentence. Attributes are placed after dependent words. A writing system based on the Latin alphabet was introduced in 1973.


Zholkovskii, A. K. Sintaksis somali. Moscow, 1971.
Dolgopol’skii, A. B. Sravnitel’no-istoricheskaia fonetika kushitskikh iazykov. Moscow, 1973.
Bell, C. R. V. The Somali Language. London, 1953.
Moreno, M. M. II Somalo della Somalia. Rome, 1955.
Andrzejewski, B. W. The Declensions of Somali Nouns. London, 1964.
Abraham, R. C. Somali-English Dictionary. London, 1964.
Abraham, R. C. English-Somali Dictionary. London, 1967.


References in periodicals archive ?
I called exclusion families so I could explain to them in Somali the reasons they should follow the protocol," Omar told The Nation's Health.
The meeting agreed upon Qatar's support for the budget of the Somali government, which will begin this month, in addition to supporting the development of the Somali security capabilities along with program of economic empowerment and job creation for Somali youth, he added, referring in this regard to the agreement on the support of the State of Qatar for the efforts of the Somali government to achieve a comprehensive national reconciliation.
During the Cold War period, Somali waters were one of the most contested areas between the former Soviet Union and the United States, with Moscow having a military base in Gulf of Aden port of Berbera and Washington taking a naval base in Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
But MMR rates among Somali 24-month-olds began dropping in 2005, reaching 82% in 2007 and 63% in 2009.
In the first chapter, "Language," Brioni examines the deterritorialized role of language in the case of Somali Italian writing.
We have no fixed number, but it is between 200 and 300 Somalis," Somali Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayir told (http://www.
The post Bomb kills at least five Somali soldiers outside Mogadishu appeared first on Cyprus Mail .
Foreign fishing vessels are still seen as a threat to the livelihoods of Somali fishers," the report said.
Omar Sharif, a Somali hotel owner, said he thought the increased terror attacks in the country were often carried out by radicalized young Somalis living abroad, including those in Europe and North America.
The Somali Minister began an official visit to Yemen on Monday for several days, during which he held talks with several senior officials at the government, including President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, on the possible means to boost the Yemeni-Somali cooperation relations.
These writers have a native fluency in Arabic and a deep knowledge of Arabic literary culture, but at the same time their literature maintains an intimate connection to their Somali roots.
Mogadishu Mayor lauded His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's initiatives in support of the Somali people, and commended the efforts of RCO Board of Trustees Chairman Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa in implementing development projects in Somalia, noting that the kingdom has played a pioneering role in development projects in Somalia for over 20 years.