Berta

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A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Barta, Bela-Shangul, Bela-Shanguru, Bertha, Burta, Funj, Jebelawi, Rotana, Wetawit
Autonym
Beni-Shangul
Population

213,500 in Ethiopia, all users. L1 users: 197,000 (2007 census), increasing. L2 users: 16,500. 99,700 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 199,000 (2007 census). Total users in all countries: 393,500 (as L1: 377,000; as L2: 16,500).

Location

Benishangul-Gumuz region: Blue Nile river and Sudan border corner north of Asosa; Dalati, Sirba Abay area east of Dabus river; Matahara east.

Language Status

4 (Educational).

Dialects

Shuru, Bake, Undu, Mayu, Fadashi (Fedashe), Dabuso. May be more than one language with Dabuso as the more distant dialect (2017 S. Neudorf).

Typology

SVO, but flexible to be OVS, depending on discourse; prepositions.noun head initial; tonal (lexical and grammatical); marked-nominative system; case-marking for dative and genitive (plus tone change for genitive), tone change for nominative; verbs marked for tense/aspect; passive, causative; reciprocal, directional.

Language Use

All domains, except for religion (which is in Arabic [arb]). All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Amharic [amh], Oromo [orm]. Used as L2 by Gwama [kmq], Komo [xom], Màwés Aasʼè [myf].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 10%. Taught in primary schools in grades 1–4 as the medium of instruction. Taught in secondary schools in grades 5–9 as subject. Grade 10 mother tongue subject curriculum being developed in 2018. Literature. Dictionary.
Writing

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Muslim.

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