Kunama

Print

A language of Eritrea

Alternate Names
Baada, Baaden, Baaza, Baazayn, Baazen, Bada, Baden, Baza, Bazen, Cunama, Diila
Population

187,000 in Eritrea (2006), increasing. 1,000 in Ilit, 600 in Odasa. Population total all countries: 194,430.

Location

West, Gash and Setit rivers, Sudan border; Barka south of Barentu; Marda north, northeast, and east of Barentu and in Barentu; Aimara west of Barentu; Laki-Tukura south of Aimara, west of Barka; Tika south of Laki-Tukura, west of Barka. Also in Ethiopia.

Language Status

4 (Educational).

Dialects

Aymasa (Aaimasa, Aimara, Odasa), Barka (Berka), Bitama (Bitaama), Ilit (Iiliit, Iilit, Iliit), Marda, Sokodasa (Sogadas, Sogodas), Takazze-Setiit (Setiit, Setit), Tigray, Tika (Lakatakura-Tika, Tiika). Bitama and Ilit are nearly unintelligible to other Kunama dialect speakers. Barka is largest and is intelligible to speakers of all others.

Typology

SOV; postpositions; case suffixes

Language Use

Home. All ages. Positive attitudes.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Females: 21%. Literacy rate in L2: Low. Taught in primary schools. Poetry. New media. Radio programs. Videos. Dictionary. Bible.
Writing
Latin script, used since late 1800s.
Other Comments

Laka-Takura and Tika have been influenced by Arab culture and by the Beni-Amer. Traditional religion, Muslim (Ilit), Muslim (Bitama).