Qimant

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A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Kimanteney, Western Agaw
Population

1,650 (1994 census). Ethnic population: 172,000 (1994 census). L2 users: 3,180.

Location

Northwest Amara State, north of Lake Tana; Qwara or Kayla are near Addis Ababa.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).

Dialects

Achpar, Dembiya (Dambya, Dembya), Hwarasa (“Kara” (pej.), Qwara, Qwarina), Kayla, Kwolasa (Kwolacha), Qimant (Chemant, Kamant, Kemanat, Kemant, Kimant, Qemant), Semyen. Distinct from Awngi [awn], Bilen [byn], and Xamtanga [xan].

Typology

SOV.

Language Use

Qwara dialect has no remaining speakers. 170,747 ethnic Western Agaw are monolingual in Amharic [amh]. Ge’ez [gez] is liturgical language. A few Hebrew [heb] words used in prayer. Also use Amharic [amh].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 15%. Bible portions: 1885.
Writing

Ethiopic script [Ethi], no longer in use.

Other Comments

Ethnonym: Falashi (Kayla or Qwara people), meaning Black Jews. 2,321 Falashas in Ethiopia. Most remaining Falasha went to Israel in 1999. No evidence of a distinct Jewish language. Kara is an incorrect spelling. Christian (Qimant), Jewish (Kayla).