A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Shak, Shako, Shekka, Shekko, Tschako

43,820, all users. L1 users: 38,900 (2010 UNSD). L2 users: 4,920. 13,600 monolinguals (1994 census).


Southeast Gambela region: southeast; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ region: Bench-Maji zone.

Language Maps
Language Status

4 (Educational).


None known. Distinct from Shabo [sbf].


SOV; postpositions; genitives, articles, adjectives, numerals, relatives after noun heads; question word initial; 1 prefix, 5 suffixes; word order distinguishes subjects, objects, indirect objects; affixes indicate case of noun phrases; verb affixes mark person, number, gender of subject; passives, causatives, comparatives; CV, CVC, CVV, CV:C, CVCC; tonal, 3 tones.

Language Use

Home, religion, community. Also use Amharic [amh], Bench [bcq].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 16%. Taught in primary schools as medium of instruction for grades 1–3. Grade 4 materials are being developed. Radio.

Latin script [Latn], used since 2008.

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Christian.

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