Somali is an Afro-Asiatic language that belongs to the East Cushitic branch. It is spoken in Somalia and other African countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia. Compared with other Cushitic languages, Somali is relatively well-documented, with academic studies of the language dating from around the beginning of the 20th century. It is difficult to figure out a specific number of Somali speakers, given that there is a large international expatriate community that uses the language. Somewhere between 10 and 16 million worldwide is a reasonable estimate. Somali has been the national language of Somalia since 1972, gaining official status after the adoption of the Latin alphabet.

Map of Somali language speakers.
Map of Somali language speakers.

Basic stats

First language : 10-16 million

Second language : 500,000

Main Countries: Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibuti, Kenya, certain communities in Europe, North America and Yemen

Alternate names: Af-Soomaali, Af-Maxaad Tiri, Common Somali, Standard Somali

ISO 639-3 Code: som

Language Sample

Aadanaha dhammaantiis wuxuu dhashaa isagoo xor ah kana siman xagga sharafta iyo xuquuqada Waxaa Alle (Ilaah) siiyay aqoon iyo wacyi, waana in qof la arkaa qofka kale ula dhaqmaa si walaaltinimo ah

(Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1)

Some proverbs in Somali:

Talo walaal diide taagoogta ayuu kajabaa.
One refusing a sibling's advice breaks his arm

Soomaali been ma maahmaah do
Somalis don't say a false proverb

Ragna waa shaah, dumarna waa sheeko
Men for tea, women for talk

Product Availability

The following products are currently available in Somali:

  • For Consumers

(Coming soon)


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