Archived 15th edition
Ethnologue.com home
Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Asia > Yemen

Languages of Yemen

See language map.
Republic of Yemen, al-Jumhurïyah al-Yamaniyah. 20,024,867. National or official language: Standard Arabic. Literacy rate: 25% to 39%. Also includes Egyptian Spoken Arabic (10,000), Gulf Spoken Arabic (10,000), Hindi (232,760), Hobyót, Somali (678,904), Western Cham, people from Africa (28,000), India and Pakistan (65,000). Information mainly from T. Sebeok 1970; R. F. Nyrop 1986; T. M. Johnstone 1987. Deaf population: 1,052,571. The number of languages listed for Yemen is 8. Of those, all are living languages.

Living languages

Arabic, Hadrami Spoken

[ayh] 300,000 in Yemen (1995). Population total all countries: 410,000. Hadramaut. Also spoken in Eritrea, Kenya. Alternate names: Hadromi, Hadrami.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
More information.

Arabic, Judeo-Yemeni

[jye] 1,000 in Yemen (1995 H. Mutzafi).  Alternate names: Judeo-Yemeni, Yemenite Judeo-Arabic.  Dialects: San`a, `Aden, Be:da, Habban.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
More information.

Arabic, Sanaani Spoken

[ayn] 7,600,000 (1996). Extends as far south as Dhamar, about 14.4 degrees north. Alternate names: Northern Yemeni Arabic.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
More information.

Arabic, Standard

[arb]   Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
More information.

Arabic, Ta'izzi-Adeni Spoken

[acq] 6,760,000 in Yemen (1996). Population total all countries: 6,869,000. All provinces except 2 eastern and the northeastern ones. Probably a few in United Arab Emirates, Somalia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Also spoken in Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, United Kingdom. Alternate names: Southern Yemeni Spoken Arabic.  Dialects: Ta'izzi, Adeni. Ta'izzi dialect is the one best-accepted throughout Yemen.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
More information.

Bathari

[bhm] Population total all countries: 200. Also spoken in Oman. Alternate names: Bautahari, Botahari, Bathara.  Dialects: Close to Mehri.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, South Arabian 
More information.

Mehri

[gdq] 70,643 in Yemen (2000). Population total all countries: 135,764. Mahrah Governorate. Also spoken in Kuwait, Oman. Alternate names: Mahri.  Dialects: Western Mehri (Mehriyet), Eastern Mehri (Mehriyot). Within the main dialects there are also differences between bedouin and city or village varieties.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, South Arabian 
More information.

Soqotri

[sqt] 57,000 in Yemen (1990 census). Population total all countries: 64,000. Mainly in Soqotra Island, hundreds in `Abd al-Kuri island, and about a dozen in Samha Island in the Gulf of Aden. Also spoken in United Arab Emirates. Alternate names: Saqatri, Sokotri, Suqutri, Socotri.  Dialects: `Abd Al-Kuri, Southern Soqotri, Northern Soqotri, Central Soqotri, Western Soqotri.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, South Arabian 
More information.