8,340,000 in Somalia (2006). Population total all countries: 16,559,722.
Widespread. Also in Canada, Denmark, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Finland, Italy, Kenya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Yemen.
1 (National). Statutory national language (2004, Transitional Federal Charter, Article 7(1)).
Af-Ashraaf (Ashraaf), Benaadir, Northern Somali. Northern Somali is basis for standard Somali. Readily intelligible to Benaadir Somali speakers, but difficult or unintelligible to most Maay [ymm]. Those in Merka and Muqdisho speak Af-Ashraaf, a distinct variety which may have limited inherent intelligibility of standard Somali.