Oromo, West Central


A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Afan Oromo, “Galla” (pej.), Oromiffa, Oromoo

8,920,000 in Ethiopia (1994 census). 25,500,000 all Oromo speakers in Ethiopia (2007 census). Population total all countries: 8,922,200. Ethnic population: All ethnic Oromo are 30,000,000 in Ethiopia.


West and central Oromiya Region; Rift Valley escarpment east of Dessie and Woldiya. Also in Egypt.

Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial working language in Oromia Region (1994, Constitution, Article 47(3)).


Central Oromo, Western Oromo. Subdialects are Mecha (Maccha, Wellaga, Wallaga, Wollega), Raya, Wello (Wollo), and Tulema (Tulama, Shoa, Shewa). Harar and Boran are most divergent.



Language Use

Used by regional and national governments.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 22%. Taught in primary schools. Newspapers. Radio programs. TV. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1899–1998.
Ethiopic script, used until 1990s. Latin script, used since 1990s.
Other Comments

In Ethiopia, Oromo is viewed as 1 people who speak 1 language. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.