A language of Eritrea

Alternate Names
Baada, Baaden, Baaza, Baazayn, Baazen, Bada, Baden, Baza, Bazen, Cunama, Diila

247,000 in Eritrea (2010 J. Leclerc), increasing. Total users in all countries: 254,570 (as L1: 254,430; as L2: 140).


Gash Barka region: mainly between Gash river and Ethiopia border; Barka south of Barentu; Marda north, northeast, and east of Barentu and in Barentu; Aimara west of Barentu.

Language Status

4 (Educational).


Barka (Berka), Marda, Aymasa (Aaimasa, Aimara, Odasa), Tika (Lakatakura-Tika, Tiika), Ilit (Iiliit, Iilit, Iliit), Bitama (Bitaama), Sokodasa (Sogadas, Sogodas), Takazze-Setiit (Setiit, Setit), Tigray. Bitama and Ilit are nearly unintelligible to other Kunama dialect speakers. Barka is largest and is intelligible to speakers of all others.


SOV; postpositions; case suffixes.

Language Use

Home. All ages. Positive attitudes. Used as L2 by Bilen [byn], Nara [nrb].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Females: 21%. Literacy rate in L2: Low. Taught in primary schools. Poetry. New media. Radio programs. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 2012.

Latin script [Latn], used since late 1800s.

Other Comments

Laka-Takura and Tika have been influenced by Arab culture and by the Beni-Amer. Traditional religion, Muslim.

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