Tigrinya - Tigrigna - ትግርኛ

1.  Classification / Classification

Tigrinya (also Tigrigna) is an Ethio-Semitic language of South Semitic.

Ethnologue? lists the classification as: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, North

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

Eritrea and northern Ethiopia.

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to Ethnologue:

  • 3,224,875 in Ethiopia (1998 census)
  • 1,200,000 in Eritrea (2001 Johnstone and Mandryk)
  • Population total all countries: 4,449,875
  • 146,933 second-language speakers

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

No dialect survey has come to our attention. Ullendorff (1973, p. 121, and 1955) considers regional variation in Tigrinya to be insignificant, although Bender, Hailu, and Cowley (1976, p. 564) believe that Tigrinya has several dialects. (Webbook?)

5.  Usage / Utilisation

The most spoken language in Eritrea. Broadcast on radio in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Literacy rate in Ethiopia (according to Ethnologue, accessed 2007):

  • L1: 1% to 10%
  • L2: 26.5%

Literacy rate in Eritrea (according to Ethnologue, accessed 2007):

  • L1: 1% to 10%
  • L2: 5% to 25%

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

Uses Ge'ez/Ethiopic

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple


A sample text is shown on the "Language Museum" site: http://www.language-museum.com/t/tigrinya.htm

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

Beginning in the late 1990s there has been an effort to promote Unicode fonts. [more info?]


Some Unicode font information:

Legacy 8-bit: (there are some non-Unicode fonts)

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

GeezWord 2006 is a Tavultesoft Keyman layout usable for Tigrinya: http://www.geezsoft.com/

Ge'ez Keyboards has Tavultesoft Keyman layouts usable for Tigrinya (Eritrean Style & Ethiopian Style) at http://keyboards.ethiopic.org/

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

Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/tgn.htm

Wikipedia in Tigrinya at http://ti.wikipedia.org/ (some language content, but many shell articles as of 5-2007)

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

There apparently is or was recently a project to localize Linux in Tigrinya called "Tinux"

There is an OpenOffice project under the "Native Language Confederation" program: http://ti.openoffice.org/

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

  • ISO 639-1: ti
  • ISO 639-2: tir
  • ISO 639-3: tir

7.6  Other / Autre

Google has a version localized in Tigrinya: http://www.google.com/intl/ti/

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

Simon Mebrahtu, University of Asmara

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, http://africa.isp.msu.edu/afrlang/hiermenu.htm (page on "Tigrinya," http://africa.isp.msu.edu/afrlang/Tigrinya_root.html )

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Tigrigna," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/tir

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www-01.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp

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," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php

Wikipedia, "Tigrinya language," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigrinya_language

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Categories: Languages, Ethiopia, Eritrea