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Somali, Somalia

Somali, Somalia

Afro-Asiatic

Somali, Somalia

Afka Soomaaliga – The Somali Tongue

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so-SO

Language Overview

Somali, Af-Soomaali. Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Spoken by about 15 million people, mainly in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
Market Insights
Somalia’s media landscape is predominantly oral, with a strong tradition of storytelling. Digital platforms are growing, with an increasing interest in social media, particularly among younger generations.
Cultural Context
Somali culture values poetry and oral traditions. Respect and social hierarchy are evident in language use. Understanding clan dynamics and regional variations is important for effective communication.
Writing System and Typography
Somali uses the Latin alphabet, adopted in 1972, replacing the previous Arabic script. It includes some special sounds represented by unique combinations of letters. The text flows left to right.
Phonetics and Phonology
Somali phonetics feature specific sounds, including pharyngeal and velarized consonants. Tonal nature and pronunciation can be challenging for non-native speakers.
Grammatical Structure
Somali syntax features Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) structure. It has complex verb formations and uses focus particles to highlight different parts of the sentence.
Media and Text Layout
Translation into Somali often results in text contraction. Subtitling and dubbing should consider the oral and rhythmic nature of the language. Character count per line for subtitles is typically around 30-35.
Localization Challenges
Challenges include translating idiomatic expressions and adapting content to the oral-centric Somali culture. Proverbs and storytelling elements are often integral to effective communication.
Technical Considerations
Somali requires fonts that can accommodate its unique letter combinations. Compatibility with major software is essential, especially for mobile technology prevalent in the region.
Other information
Somali’s rich oral tradition influences its modern literature and media, with a strong emphasis on poetry and storytelling.
Our Human Voices
  • SOMAM02Mohamed
  • SOAFF02Yasmine
  • SOMAM06Moha
  • SOAFF06Shahra
  • SOAM06Joe
  • SOAFF04Moana
  • SOMAM05Axmed
  • SOAFF03Jibril
  • SOAFF04Maina
  • SOAM07Abdul
  • SOAFF05Ester
  • SOAFF06Nena
  • SOAM08Dre
  • SOAM10Lagi
  • SOAFF07Daina
  • SOAM09Duri
  • SOMAM04Ibrahim
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Additional Language Information
Ethnologue
Additional Country Information
Ethnologue
External Language Documentation
Open Language Archives

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