A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Donga, Kambara, Kambata, Kambatta, Kemata, Kembata

615,000 (2007 census). 330,500 monolinguals. Includes 279,000 Kambaata, 51,600 Timbaro. Ethnic population: 764,000 (2007 census). Includes 98,600 Timbaro, 35,000 Donga (2007 census). L2 users: 79,300.


Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ region: southwest Gurage, Kambaata, and Hadiyya zones; Durame is main town.

Language Maps
Language Status

4 (Educational).


Tambaro, Timbaro (Timbaaro, Timbara). Lexical similarity: 95% between dialects, 81% with Alaba-Kabeena [alw], 62% with Sidamo [sid], 57% with Libido [liq], 56% with Hadiyya [hdy].


SOV; passive, middle, causative verbs; subject suffixes distinguish person, number, gender.

Language Use

Positive attitudes. Also use Amharic [amh].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 44%. Taught in primary schools in grades 1–4 as the medium of instruction, in grades 5–10 as a subject. NT: 1992.

Ethiopic script [Ethi]. Latin script [Latn], primary usage.

Other Comments

Timbaro is now officially recognized as a seprate language in Ethiopia, although it is linguistically very close to Kambaata. Christian.