Central Cushitic languages

Central Cushitic languages

Infobox Language family
name=Central Cushitic
region=Ethiopia and central Eritrea

The Central Cushitic, or Agaw, languages are spoken by small groups in Ethiopia and, in one case, Eritrea. They form the main substratum influence 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 Eritrea around 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 Qemant in Semien Gondar Zone.::* Qwara - nearly extinct, spoken by Beta Israel formerly 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 Israeli museums, 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.

ee also

*Agaw people


*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

External links

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