6,460,000 in Somalia (2002). Total users in all countries: 14,655,700 (as L1: 14,560,100; as L2: 95,600).
1 (National). Statutory national language (2004, Transitional Federal Charter, Article 7(1)).
Northern Somali, Benaadir, Af-Ashraaf (Ashraaf). Northern Somali is basis for standard Somali. Readily intelligible to Benaadir Somali speakers, but difficult or unintelligible to most Maay [ymm]. Those in Merka and Muqdisho speak Af-Ashraaf, a distinct variety which may have limited inherent intelligibility of standard Somali.
SOV; prepositions; noun head initial; gender (masculine/feminine); enclitic definite article; verb affixes mark number, person, gender of subject; tense; comparatives; 22 consonant and 10 vowel phonemes; tonal (3 grammatical tones: high, low, falling); inclusive/exclusive pronouns.