Tigré

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A language of Eritrea

Alternate Names
Khasa, Xasa
Population

1,390,000 in Eritrea (2010 J. Leclerc), increasing.

Location

Anseba, Gash Barka, Semenawi K‘eyih Bahri regions. Widespread except in Debubawi K’eyih Bahri.

Language Status

4 (Educational).

Dialects

Mansa’ (Mensa), Habab, Beni-Amir, Semhar, Algeden, Senhit (Ad-Tekleis, Ad-Temariam, Bet-Juk, Marya Kayah, Mensa), Dahalik. Between dialects (except Dahalik) intelligibility is above 91% (Idris 2005); between Dahalik and the other dialects 24%–51% (Idris 2010). Lexical similarity: 71% with Ge’ez [gez], 64% with Tigrigna [tir] (Bender, M. 1971). Intelligibility of Dahalik undetermined, Tigre dialectical lexical similarity is 86%–97% (Idris 2005); 55%–60% with Dahalik and other Tigre dialects (Idris 2010).

Typology

SOV.

Language Use

All domains. All ages. Somewhat positive attitudes. Formerly they favored Arabic [arb]. Also use Sudanese Spoken Arabic [apd], Ta’izzi-Adeni Spoken Arabic [acq], Tigrigna [tir]. Used as L2 by Bilen [byn], Nara [nrb], Saho [ssy], Tigrigna [tir].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Females: about 30%. Taught in primary schools. Fully developed. Bible: 1988.
Writing

Ethiopic script [Ethi], used since 1889.

Other Comments

Spoken by some Beni-Amer called Lobot. Other ethnic groups are Ad Aha, Geden Sikta, Iddifer, and Teroa Beit Mushe. Believed by some to be the direct linguistic descendant of Ge’ez [gez]. Incorrectly called Ge’ez. Muslim, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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