The Most Spoken Languages In Ethiopia


Ethiopians speak almost 88 languages. Unfortunately, some of the dialects are now either extinct or endangered. These languages are drawn from three separate families.

Most Spoken Languages In Ethiopia 2019; The most prominent family is the Afroasiatic family, consisting of Cushitic and Semitic languages. The second family is the Omotic family of languages spoken within Ethiopia.

The last family is the Nilo-Saharan that has several languages. Nevertheless, the official languages spoken in Ethiopia are Oromo and Amharic. The Oromo language is expressed by the most significant population, followed by the Amharic language.

Most Spoken Languages In Ethiopia, Due to the Federal laws of Ethiopia, the Amharic language is considered the official language despite having the second largest population of speakers. But it’s under consideration to make both languages official.

The Oromo language is spoken by 38.6 million people, who are 34.4 % of the population of Ethiopia. The number includes both the young and old generations. In addition, people from all walks of life speak Amharic totalling an estimated 30.3 million speakers.

This is about 29.3% of the total population of both urban and rural parts of Ethiopia. Therefore, you can easily find many Ethiopians speaking their native language alongside English or Oromo and Amharic.

The residents also speak the minority languages, especially the older generation. It is also easier to learn the Amharic language more than Oromo due to its musical nature. Additionally, one Amharic word can form many phrases.

The Most Spoken Languages In Ethiopia

PopulationPercents %
Oromo38.6 Million34.4
Amharic30.3 Million27%
Somali6.9 Million6.2%
Tigray 6.8 Million6.1%
Sidama 4.4 Million4%
Gurage 2.8 Million2.5%
Welayta 2.5 Million2.3%
Afar 1.9 Million1.7%
Hadiya 1.9 Million1.7%
Gamo 1.6 Million1.5%

Some of the common phrases in both Oromo and Amharic languages that a visitor can quickly learn include: in Amharic, one can say “Seh-Lahm” to mean “Hello/Peace” or say “Awo” to mean “Yes.” In Oromo, one says “akkam” to mean “hello” and “nagaatti” to mean “bye.”