A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Mekan, Men, Meqan, Mie’en, Mieken

151,000 (2007 census), increasing. More than 95% monolingual. Ethnic population: 6,990 Bodi (2007 census).


Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), Bench-Maji zone. Highlanders (Banio) in Bachuma area; lowlanders (Koruwo) south; Bodi near Omo river.

Language Maps
Language Status

4 (Educational).


Banio, Bodi (Mela, Podi), Koruwo. Linguistically similar to Suri [suq] and Mursi [mur]. Lexical differences between highland and lowland. Lexical similarity: 65% with the Chai and Tirma dialects of Suri [suq], 30% with Murle [mur].


SVO; postpositions; genitives, adjective, articles, and relatives follow noun heads; question word final; prefixes and suffixes; verbs inflected; tonal

Language Use

6,300 L2 speakers. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: More than 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 4%. Literates increasing. Amharic [amh] used in education and for reading the Bible. New media. Bible portions: 2008.
Ethiopic script, used until 2009. Latin script, used since 2009, primary usage.
Other Comments

Ethnonym: Suro by the Kafa [kbr] and Bench [bcq]. ‘Tishena’ (Teshina, Teshenna, Tishana), hello, in Me’en [mym], is a name given by Amhara settlers and is not well-received. Ethnic autonym: Mela by Bodi. Traditional religion, Christian.