Sidamo - Sidámo 'Afó

1.  Classification / Classification

Sidamo is a language of the Highland East Cushitic Group spoken by the Sadamain. (Webbook?)

Ethnologue? lists the classification as: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

Southern highlands east and west of Lake Awasa, Ethiopia. (Webbook)

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to Ethnologue:

  • 1,876,329 (1998 census)
  • 101,340 second-language speakers

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

No dialect survey is known to us; however, Hudson (in Bender 1976, p.233) says that Sidamo "is ... little differentiated into dialects" and that "the differences are minimal." (Webbook)

Concerning other related languages, Ethnologue says: Lexical similarity 64% with Allaaba, 62% with Kambaata, 53% with Hadiyya.

5.  Usage / Utilisation

According to Ethnologue (accessed 2015): Taught in university as a major and used as a government working language. Taught in primary schools in grades 1–4 as the medium of instruction, in grades 5–10 as a subject. Radio programs.

Literacy rate (according to Ethnologue, accessed 2007):

  • L1: 1% to 5%
  • L2: 20.3% (Ethnologue in 2015 has 20% L2 literacy, but no indication for L1 literacy)

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

According to Ethnologue (accessed 2015): Ethiopic script, used until 1993. Latin script, used since 1993.

The Webbook (late 1980s, early 1990s) had this assessment: Very little is written in Sidamo. As far as we know, the only printed literature to date is the Bible, written in Amharic characters.

A very brief and probably dated discussion of the orthography in Italian is available on the Rosetta Project site at

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

None known.

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

Not aware of any localisation efforts.

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

  • ISO 639-1: -
  • ISO 639-2: sid
  • ISO 639-3: sid

7.6  Other / Autre

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile

9.  Comments / Remarques

10.  References / Références

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, (page on "Sidamo," )

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Sidamo,"

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables,"

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language,"

Wikipedia, "Sidamo language,"

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Categories: Languages, Ethiopia