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Aroid languages

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Ari-Banna, South Omotic
Ethiopia, mainly South Omo Zone
Linguistic classificationAfro-Asiatic

The Aroid or Ari-Banna (sometimes South Omotic or Somotic) languages possibly belong to the Afro-Asiatic family and are spoken in Ethiopia.


There are five Aroid languages:

External classification

The classification of South Omotic (also called Aroid) is highly disputed and it may be a separate language family. Karo is sometimes considered as a dialect of Hamer, but considered as a separate language by Glottolog which groups both in a Hamer-Karo subfamily.

Zaborski (1986)[1] and Lamberti (1993)[2] consider South Omotic to be a separate branch of Cushitic, renaming it as West Cushitic.

Bender (2000, 2003)[3][4] notes that South Omotic is in fact quite divergent from other Afroasiatic languages, and suggests that it may in fact have connections with Nilo-Saharan, such as Surmic and Nilotic.

Enrico Cerulli had proposed that Aroid languages might be a part of Nilotic.[5] Citing lexical similarities with Surmic and other non-Nilotic Nilo-Saharan languages, Yigezu (2013)[6] argues that Aroid (a.k.a. South Omotic) has a "Nilo-Saharan origin" and had become strongly influenced by other "Omotic" language groups. The Proto-Aroid vowel system is also more similar to those of the Surmic and Nilotic languages (Yigezu 2006, 2013).[6]

Glottolog 4.0 does not recognize that South Omotic belongs to one of the disputed families, and the candidate group of Omotic languages (grouping both North and South Omotic languages) remains disputed. For this reason it is considered for now as a separate family.


Reconstruction ofAroid languages

Below is a reconstruction of Proto-Aroid by Yigezu (2013).[7]

Gloss Proto-Aroid
animal *dabɪ-
arrow *bʌnkʌr
blow *pug-
boat (canoe) *gongul
buffalo *meek-
burn *ʔats-
bury *duuk-
calabash *gusi
call (v) *ɛl-
cattle *waak-
charcoal *tʃ’ilʃ-
chicken *baatʃa ~ *koyz
chicken *baatʃ-
chief *biti
claw *guʃ-
climb *wut-
cloth *apala
cotton *putta
count *payd-
crocodile *gurgur
divide (v) *kʌʃ-
donkey *ukul-
drink (v) *wutʃ’-
dry season *bona
egg *muk’-; *mol-
father *baab
fire *no̤ha ~ *nuu
hand/arm *ʔan
hat *koɓ-
head *mat-
hoe *gaita
hold *yʌd
I *ʔinta
liver *tʊ/ur-
make *ʔaʃk-
mother *ʔind-
mouth *ʔap-
navel *gulɗ-
nine *sakal
open *bul-
people *eedna
person *eed
pierce *tors-
plant *kor-
rainy season *bʌrgi
road *gɔgi
salt *sok’o
sand *ʃaam-
seed *ɓenta
sew *dʒaag-
shoot *kʌs’-
show *ɗaw-
six *la̤h
smoke (n) *tʃ’ub-
snake *gun-
sow *dʊk’-
spit *tʌs’-; *pas’-
split *p’al-
tail *go/ul-
ten *tʌmm-; *tʌɓ-
tobacco *dampo
untie *bul-
urinate *ʃaan-
urine *ʃaan
1sg *ʔinta
2sg *ya-
3sg (masculine) *no̤h/nuu
3sg (feminine) *naa
3sg (neuter) *yi
1pl *wot-
2pl *yʌt-
3pl *kɛt-


Comparison of numerals in individual languages:[8]

Language 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Aari wólːáq qastːén makːén ʔoydːí dónqː láː tabzá qastːaː́ntámːers (lit: two less than ten) wolqáːntámːers (lit:one less than ten) támːá
Hamer-Banna (1) kála lamá makkán oidí dunɡ̥ lax toɓɓá lankái sal táɓi
Hamer-Banna (2) kʌlʌ lɛmaː makan ʔoʷidi / ʔuʷidi duŋ lʌx tʌɓa / toɓa lʌŋkaⁱ səl təɓi
Dime ˈwɔkʰʌl / wókkil ˈkʼʌtʼɨm / kʼəstin ˈmʌkʰɨm / mə́kkim ʔʊdːʊ / ʔúddú ˈʃənːə / ʃinní ˈlahə ~ ˈlah / láxi ˈtʰʊsːʊm / tússum ˈkʼʌʃnaʃ / kʼaʃnáʃiʃ ˈwʌklaʃ / wókláʃiʃ ˈtʰamːe / təmme
Karo (Kara Apo) kala lama makkam ojidi dɔŋ la tsoɓa lɔɔŋkaji sal taɓi

See also


  1. ^ Zaborski, Andrzej. 1986. Can Omotic be reclassified as West Cushitic? In Gideon Goldenberg, ed., Ethiopian Studies: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference pp. 525–530. Rotterdam: Balkema.
  2. ^ Lamberti, Marcello. 1993. "The Ari-Banna group and its classification." Studi Italiani di Linguistica Teorica e Applicata 22: 39-87.
  3. ^ Bender, Lionel M. 2000. Comparative Morphology of the Omotic Languages. (LINCOM Studies in African Linguistics, 19.) München: Lincom Europa.
  4. ^ Bender, M. Lionel. 2003. The Omotic Lexicon. In Bender, M. Lionel and Takács, Gábor and Appleyard, David L. (eds.), Selected Comparative-Historical Afrasian Linguistic Studies in Memory of Igor M. Diakonoff, 93-106. München: München: Lincom.
  5. ^ Lamberti, Marcello (1991). "Cushitic and its Classifications". Anthropos: 552–561.
  6. ^ a b Yigezu, Moges. 2013. Is Aroid Nilo-Saharan or Afro-Asiatic? Some evidences from phonological, lexical and morphological reconstructions. Paper presented at the Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, May 22–24, 2013, Cologne, Germany.
  7. ^ Yigezu, Moges. 2013. Is Aroid Nilo-Saharan or Afro-Asiatic? some evidences from phonological, lexical and morphological reconstuructions. Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, May 22–24, 2013, Cologne, Germany.
  8. ^ Chan, Eugene (2019). "The Afro-Asiatic Language Phylum". Numeral Systems of the World's Languages.
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Aroid languages
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