Saho language

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Native to Eritrea, Ethiopia
Region Akuliguzay, Samhar and Saray Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan
Native speakers
220,000 (2015)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ssy
Glottolog ungaosman[2]

The Saho language is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia. It belongs to the family's Cushitic branch.


It is spoken natively by the Saho people who traditionally inhabit territory in Eritrea bounded by the bay of Erafayle in the east, the Laasi Ghedé valleys in the south, and the Eritrean highlands to the west (Akele Guzai, Shimejana ).

This speech area is bordered by other Afro-Asiatic-speaking communities, with Tigre speakers on the west and Afar speakers on the east. In Ethiopia, Saho or Assawort is primarily spoken in the Eritrea. It has about 200,000 speakers in total and four main dialects: Asawurta, Toroa Minifero, Eda, Tabota Hazu Hasabat-ara and Irob.[3]

Saho is so closely related to the Cushitic Afar language, spoken as a mother tongue by the Afar people, that some linguists regard the two tongues as dialects of a single "Saho–Afar language".


  1. Saho at Ethnologue (13th ed., 1996).
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Saho". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. Raymond G. Gordon, Jr, ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics. The Saho also use the Arabic ( Special now Latin letters ) to document their history and render information. Also recently the language is being used on the cyberspace as a tool of communication. And there is on website completely designed with saho language.

External links

Further reading

  • William E. Welmers. 1952. "Notes on the structure of Saaho," Word 8:145-162.