Oromo, West Central


A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Afan Oromo, “Galla” (pej.), Oromiffa, Oromoo

8,920,000 (1994 census). 25,500,000 all Oromo speakers in Ethiopia (2007 census). Population total all countries: 8,922,200. Ethnic population: 30,000,000.



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.


Central Oromo, Western Oromo. Subdialects are Mecha (Maccha, Wellaga, Wallaga, Wollega), Raya, Wello (Wollo), and Tulema (Tulama, Shoa, Shewa). Harar and Borana are most divergent. A member of macrolanguage Oromo [orm].



Language Use

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

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 22%. Also taught as a major at the university level. Taught in primary schools as medium of instruction in grades 1–10. 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 one people who speak one language. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.