West Cushitic Languages

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

West Cushitic Languages


a subgroup of the Cushitic languages in southwestern and western Ethiopia, which includes the Kaffa languages (Kaffa, Mocha, Anfillo, Shinasha), the Ometo languages (Walamo, Gofa, Chara, Basketo, Badditu, Haruro, and others), Janjero (Yamma), Gimira, and Maji. Approximately 800,000 people speak them (1967, estimate).

Some West Cushitic languages have phonological tones. The old Cushitic grammatical system has been considerably changed in the West Cushitic languages: internal flexion, prefixal conjugation, and even some personal pronouns have been lost. They are agglutinative languages with elements of analyticity. The noun has two genders, and the plural is formed with suffixes and partial reduction of the root. The person, number, and gender of the subject, the aspectual and tense forms and moods, and the derivative forms (causative, passive, frequentative, and others) are differentiated in the verb by suffixes. These languages have a fixed word order.


Cerulli, E. Studi etiopici, vols. 3-4. Rome, 1938-51.
Leslau, W. A Dictionary of Moca. Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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