Zay

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A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Gelilla, Lak’i, Laqi, Zway
Population

4,880 (1994 SIL), decreasing. Ethnic population: 4,880.

Location

Oromia region: Lake Zway shores and east islands.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).

Dialects

None known. Lexical similarity: 61% with Harari [har], 70% with Silt’e [stv] (Bender, M. 1971).

Language Use

Use of Zay is decreasing due to migration from the islands (the traditional homeland) to the lakeshore, where they become Oromo [orm] speakers. Oromo is also taught in island schools. Speaker number decrease also attributed to dominant role of Amharic [amh] (Dimmendaal and Voeltz 2007). Also use Amharic [amh], Oromo [orm].

Language Development
Grammar.
Writing

Unwritten [Qaax].

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