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Mesqan language

Native toEthiopia
RegionGurage Zone
Native speakers
200,000 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mvz

Mesqan (also Mäsqan or Meskan) is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken by the Gurage people in the Gurage Zone of Ethiopia. It belongs to the family's Ethiopian Semitic branch.



Labial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
plain lab. plain lab.
Nasal m n ɲ
voiceless (p) t t͡ʃ c k
voiced b d d͡ʒ ɟ g ɡʷ
ejective (pʼ) t͡ʃʼ kʼʷ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ ç x h
voiced (v) z ʒ
ejective (sʼ)
Rhotic r
Lateral l
Approximant j w
  • Sounds /p, pʼ, v, sʼ/ occur in loanwords, mainly from Amharic.
  • /xʷ/ may also have an allophone of [hʷ].
  • /b/ may have an allophone of [β] in postvocalic and intervocalic positions.
  • /n/ may assimilate to [ŋ] when following a velar consonant.[2]
  • /k, ɡ/ can also be heard as palatalized [kʲ, ɡʲ] when before front vowels.[3][4]


Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Mid e ə o
Open a


  1. ^ Mesqan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Shafi, Ousman; Meyer, Ronny (2016). Mesqan.
  3. ^ Eshetu, Meseret (2012). Tense, aspect and mood in Mesqan. Addis Ababa University. pp. 19–20.
  4. ^ Getachew, Alemayehu (2011). Mesqan folktales: A contribution to the documentation of the Mesqan language. Addis Ababa University. pp. 10–11.

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Mesqan language
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