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: 30,000,000.


Widespread west, north and central.

Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial working language in Oromia Region (1994, Constitution, Article 47(3)).West Central Oromo [gaz] is lingua franca of the area, but some have negative attitudes toward it.


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. A member of macrolanguage Oromo [orm].



Language Use

Also use Amharic [amh]. Used as L2 by Komo [xom], Kwama [kmq].

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 [Ethi], used until 1990s. Latin script [Latn], used since 1990s.

Other Comments

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