A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Mekan, Mela, Men, Meqan, Mie’en, Mieken, Suro, “Teshenna” (pej.), “Teshina” (pej.), “Tishana” (pej.), “Tishena” (pej.)

151,000 (2010 UNSD), increasing. 5,770 Bodi (2010 UNSD). L2 users: 6,300. 143,000 monolinguals.


Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ region: Bench-Maji zone; highlanders (Banio) in Bachuma area; lowlanders (Koruwo) south; Bodi near Omo river.

Language Maps
Language Status

4 (Educational).


Banio, Bodi (Mela, Podi), Koruwo. Lexical similarity: 65% with the Chai and Tirma dialects of Suri [suq], 30% with Murle [mur]. Lexical differences between highland and lowland.


SVO; postpositions; genitives, adjective, articles, and relatives follow noun heads; question word final; prefixes and suffixes; verbs inflected; tonal.

Language Use

All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Amharic [amh]. Used as L2 by Kwegu [xwg].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 4%. Literates increasing. Amharic [amh] used in education and for reading the Bible. Taught in primary schools in grades 1–3 as medium of instruction. Grade 4 materials in development. New media. Bible portions: 2008–2010.

Ethiopic script [Ethi], used until 2009. Latin script [Latn], used since 2009, primary usage.

Other Comments

Traditional religion.

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