(redirected from Somalians)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The former President of Somalia, former Prime Minister, and Somalian expats have thanked the UAE for its support and humanitarian assistance during the recent terrorist attack in their country that claimed close to 400 lives and injured 500 more.
The aim was sustainable development of the Somalians, in addition to meeting their immediate needs.
"I've had a bellyful of phone-hacking..." one of the three Somalians says.
Listening: Prime Minister David Cameron meets members of the Somalian community and the Muath Trust in Camp Hill.
The judge told Carl: "It is clear that you wanted those two young Somalians caught, not in order that they should be dealt with by process of law, but so that they could receive salutary summary justice then and there."
After the burial they gathered at the city's Somalian Community Centre, in Granby Street, Toxteth, where there was a further service of remembrance.
Allegations about alleged malpractice flew thick and fast with a Lib Dem councillor accused of increasing his chances by recruiting a mini-army of Somalian helpers, while a Labour councillor was said to have broken election rules by entering the home of someone who had taken delivery of postal ballot forms.
THREE more arrests have been made after a teenage Somalian was beaten to death in Sefton Park.
Matthew plays one of an elite force of 120 American Delta troops and Ranger infantrymen who were dropped into the Somali capital Mogadishu to abduct two of Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid's lieutenants.
"One of the children that donated was Mariam, a five or six-year-old who was drinking a small carton of milk and didn't want to finish it, then her uncle told her this cost me 100 fils and this could feed five Somalians for a day," he said.
Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome?