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Konso language

አፈ ኾንሶ‎ (äfä honəso)
Native toEthiopia
RegionSouth of Lake Chamo in the bend of the Sagan River
Native speakers
240,000 (2007)[1][2]
  • Duuro
  • Fasha
  • Karatti
  • Kholme
Ethiopic script
Language codes
ISO 639-3kxc

Konso (Komso, Khonso, also Af Kareti, Afa Karatti, Conso, Gato, Karate, Kareti) is a Lowland East Cushitic language spoken in southwest Ethiopia. Native speakers of Konso number about 200,000 (SIL 2005). Konso is closely related to Dirasha (also known as Gidole), and serves as a "trade language"—or lingua franca—beyond the area of the Konso people. Blench (2006) considers purported dialects Gato and Turo to be separate languages.[3]

The Grammar of Konso was first described by Hellenthal (2004), and later, in more detail, by Ongaye (2013). The New Testament was published in the Konso language in 2002.



Unlike its Oromoid relatives and most East African languages in general, Konso distinguishes neither voiced nor ejective consonants. Instead, it has a series of implosive stops, including the extremely rare uvular implosive /ʛ/.[4]

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ
Plosive plain p t c k ʔ
implosive ɓ ɗ ʄ ʛ
Fricative f s ʃ χ h
Lateral l
Trill r
Glide w j


Typical of a Cushitic language, Konso distinguishes five short and five long vowels:

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

See also


  1. ^ Ethiopia 2007 Census
  2. ^ Konso at Ethnologue (27th ed., 2024) Closed access icon
  3. ^ Blench, 2006. The Afro-Asiatic Languages: Classification and Reference List (ms)
  4. ^ Orkaydo, Ongaye Oda (2013). A Grammar of Konso. p. 11.

Literature on the Konso language

  • Bliese, Loren; Gignarta, Sokka (1986). "Konso Exceptions to SOV (subject–object–verb) Typology". Journal of Ethiopian Studies. 19: 1–40. JSTOR 41965937.
  • Hellenthal, Anne-Christie (2004). Some Morphosyntactic Aspects of the Konso Language (MA thesis). Leiden University.
  • Orkaydo, Ongaye Oda (2013). A grammar of Konso (PDF) (Ph.D. thesis). Leiden University. hdl:1887/20681.
  • Uusitalo, Mirjami (2007). Konso language. in Siegbert Uhlig (ed.), Encyclopaedia Aethiopica 3, 424-425. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

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Konso language
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