Learn Somali

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About Somali

Somali or Af-Soomaali is the official language of Somalia and is also spoken in Djibouti and Ethiopia. It is a Cushitic language whose closest relative is Oromo, spoken in Ethiopia. Arabic has influenced approximately 20% of the Somali vocabulary, with other words coming from Italian and English. There are three main varieties of Somali: Northern, on which Standard Somali is based, Benadir, which is mutually understandable with Northern, and Maay, which is not mutually intelligible with the other two.

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Planet Earth

Where is it spoken?




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Family Tree

Language family



Lowland East Cushitic

Fun facts — Somali

  • Somali sayings include 'A home without a mother is like a desert' and 'He who has not travelled has no understanding'.
  • Somali prepositions come before the verb and the verb comes at the end of the sentence! 'Bring the car for Ali' is literally 'Ali the car for-bring'. 'Bring the car from Ali' is 'Ali the car from-bring!'.
  • Somali is spoken by about 95% of the population of Somalia.
  • Somali has 2 tones which can change meaning. For example, 'boy' is ínan, and 'girl' is inán.

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