Oromo, Borana-Arsi-Guji


A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Afan Oromo, Booranaa, Borana, Oromiffa, Oromoo, Southern Oromo, “Galla” (pej.), “Galligna” (pej.), “Gallinya” (pej.)
Afaan Oromoo

3,630,000 in Ethiopia (2007). 24,900,000 all Oromo speakers in Ethiopia (2007 census). Total users in all countries: 3,949,600.


Afar, Amhara, and Somali regions; Oromia region: south; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ region.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


A member of macrolanguage Oromo [orm].


SOV; postpositions; gender (masculine/feminine); case-marking (7 cases); verb affixes mark person, number, gender of subject; passives (active, middle, passive); tense and aspect; 25 consonant and 10 vowel phonemes; pitch accent.

Language Use

Used by all. Also use Swahili [swh]. Used as L2 by Ale [gwd].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 16%. Non-formal literacy classes. Grammar. Bible: 1967.


Ethiopic script [Ethi], no longer in use. Latin script [Latn], primary usage.

Other Comments

In Ethiopia, Oromo is viewed as one people who speak one language. Called Borana in Kenya where Gabra and Sakuye dialects may have significant dialect and language attitude differences from Borana dialect. Muslim, traditional religion.

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