Eritrea - Erythrée - ኤርትራ (ER)

1.  Language information / Données sur les langues

1.1  Languages spoken / Langues parlées

a) Official / Officielle(s) :

Three languages have official roles, though sources differ on details:

  • L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde says there is no official language. However, Tigrinya, English and Arabic are de facto working languages of government
  • Dutcher (2004) says "English is the national (official) language. Tigrigna and Arabic are used in many official situations and documents.

b) National, indigenous / Nationale(s), indigène(s) :

Tigrinya is spoken by a little over half of the population. Tigre? and other languages by the rest.

Ethnologue lists 15 living languages at

At right is a map showing approximate areas where Eritrean languages are spoken (source: Homepage of Mebrat Tzehaie, accessed 2007, now offline).

Linguistic Groups as Percentage of Population (Dutcher 2004):

c) Relevant pages in the Major Languages section of this report / Pages appropriées dans la section de ce rapport sur les Langues principales :

Tigrinya, Arabic, Bedawi

1.2  Language policy / Politique de langue

a) Laws/legislation / Lois/législation :

The site L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde has a page on Eritrea at

b) Agencies / Agences :

c) Languages in education/literacy / Langues dans l'éducation/l'alphabétisation :

According to Dutcher (2004) communities choose language of primary schooling and prefer Tigrinya, Arabic or the local language. English is the medium of instruction from grade 6 on.

UNDP (2006) gives a literacy figure (without reference to which language[s]) of: 57%

1.3  Writing in national/indigenous languages / Ecriture en langues nationales/indigènes

a) Orthographies / Orthographes :

"Les locuteurs des langues érythréennes composent avec trois systèmes d'écriture: l'alphabet guèze pour le tigrina, le tigré et le bilen, l'alphabet arabe pour l'arabe et l'alphabet latin pour les autres langues (afar, saho, kunama, bedawi et nara)." (L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde)

Ge'ez (guèze in French) is sometimes also called Ethiopic in Ethiopia.

[Verify if Latin alphabet uses extended characters.]

b) Print publications / Editions imprimées :

1.4  Other comments / Autre commentaire

2.  ICT situation / Situation des TIC

2.1  Infrastructure / Infrastructure

a) Telephones / Téléphones :

b) Radio stations / Stations de radio :

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 2, shortwave 2 (2000) (CIA & Wikipedia)

c) Connectivity / Connectivité :

  • International internet bandwidth / Bande passante internationale d'internet :
  • ISPs / FSI : 4 (2005) - EriTel, CTS, TFanus, Ewan (Wikipedia)
  • Internet hosts on .er domain: 1304 (ISC)
  • Geographic coverage / Couverture géographique :

2.2  Computer & internet access / Accès aux ordinateurs et à l'internet

a) Computers & points of access / Ordinateurs et lieux d'accès :

  • Number of computers / Nombre d'ordinateurs: 1.8 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Cybercafés / Cybercafés:
  • Project telecentres / Télécentres de projets:

b) Internet / Internet :

  • Dial-up subscribers / Abonnés par ligne téléphonique :
  • Internet users / Utilisateurs de l'internet : 50,000 Internet users as of Sept/05, 1.2% of the population, per ITU (Internet World Stats)

c) Other / Autre :

  • Digital Opportunity Index (DOI): 0.03 (ITU 2006); 0.07, ranked 177 (ITU 2007)
  • ICT Opportunity Index (ICT-OI?):
  • ICT Development Index (IDI):

2.3  ICT policy / Politique de TIC

Pages on the NICI (National Information and Communication Infrastructure) site on Eritrea:

The APC page, "ICT Policy in Eritrea," has some information and links:

2.4  ICT4D/E & ICT training / TIC pour le développement/éducation, et formation en TIC

WikiEducator has a page on ICTs and education, including table on enabling and constraining factors, at

2.5  Resources / Ressources

3.  Localisation situation / Situation de localisation

3.1  Country web content / Contenu web du pays

3.2  Web content in indigenous languages / Contenu web en langues indigènes

(See also specific language pages.)

3.3  Software localisation / Localisation de logiciel

Efforts to promote use of Unicode fonts began around 2000.

(See also specific language pages.)

3.4  Projects & organisations / Projets et organisations

A localisation initiative for Linux in Tigrinya called "Tinux" was begun at the University of Asmara. Current status uncertain. See

3.5  Localisation policy / Politique de localisation

4.  References / Références

APC, "ICT Policy in Eritrea," Africa ICT Policy Monitor, ("Politiques de TIC en/au Erythrée," Observatoire des politiques des TIC en Afrique, )

Dutcher, Nadine. 2004. Expanding Educational Opportunity in Linguistically Diverse Societies, 2nd. ed. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Homepage of Mebrat Tzehaie, "Languages in Eritrea,"

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). 2006. World Information Society Report 2006. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2007. World Information Society Report 2007. Geneva: ITU.

Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), "Distribution of Top-Level Domain Names by Host Country, Jan 2007"

Internet World Stats: Africa. 2006.

Leclerc, Jacques. L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, "Érythrée,"

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

UNDP. 2006. ''Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. Human Development Report 2006.'' New York: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). [Human development index Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) (HDI) ]

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), "The World Factbook: Eritrea"

WikiEducator, "ICT4Africa/Country Report Eritrea,"

Wikipedia, "Communications in Eritrea,"

______, "Languages of Eritrea,"

< Equatorial Guinea | Countries | Ethiopia >