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(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.
REFERENCERait, 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.
REFERENCESZholkovskii, 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.
A. K. ZHOLKOVSKII and G. L. KAPCHITS