- Central Cushitic languages
The Central Cushitic, or
Agaw, languages are spoken by small groups in Ethiopiaand, in one case, Eritrea. They form the main substratuminfluence on Amharic and other Ethiopian Semitic languages.
The Central Cushitic languages are classified as follows (after Appleyard):
*Southern::* Awngi - spoken southwest of
Lake Tana, much the largest, with over 350,000 speakers:* Kunfal - (poorly recorded), spoken west of Lake Tana. Most likely a dialect of Awngi.
* Northern Agaw::*North-Central:::* Northern::::* Blin - spoken in
Eritreaaround the town of Keren (70,000 speakers)::* Central::::* Xamtanga (also called Khamir, Khamta) - 143,000 speakers in the North Amhara Region:* Western:::* Qimant - nearly extinct, spoken by the Qemantin Semien Gondar Zone.::* Qwara - nearly extinct, spoken by Beta Israelformerly living in Qwara, now in Israel:* Transitional between Western and Central:::* Kayla - extinct, formerly spoken by some Beta Israel
There is a rich literature in Agaw but it is widely dispersed: from fascinating mediaeval texts in the
Qimant language, now mostly in Israelimuseums, to the modern, flourishing and topical in the Bilen language, with its own newspaper, based in Keren, Eritrea. Much historical material is also available in the Xamtanga language, and there is a deep tradition of folklore in the Awngi language.
*Appleyard, David L. (2006) "A Comparative Dictionary of the Agaw Languages" (Kuschitische Sprachstudien — Cushitic Language Studies Band 24). Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
*Hetzron, Robert (1976) The Agaw Languages. "Afroasiatic Linguistics" 3,3. p. 31-37
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