How much do you know about Afaan Oromo?

Afaan Oromo (Oromiffa) is a Cushitic language that is spoken by more than 30 million people in Ethiopia, Northern Kenya and some parts of Somalia. It is the second widely used language in Ethiopia used by the Oromo people who are the largest  ethnic groups in the country. Due to political and historic reasons the language was not able to match its well-developed oral tradition to scripts.

‘Oda’ tree has a special place in Oromo culture

In 1991 more than 1000 Oromo intellectuals gather in Addis Ababa and agreed to use Latin as the official script of the language. After two years of hard work Afaan Oromo was used as the official language of elementary schools in Oromia region. The Oromo language has five major dialects in Ethiopia and they are the central and the western, the Arsi, the Eastern (Qottuu), the Guji, and the Borana dialects.

There are ten vowels in the Oromo language.

Short  vowels                 long vowels               Example             English Translation

a                                      aa                       aarii                      anger

e                                      ee                       eeboo                    spear

i                                       ii                         ilmoo                   offspring

o                                     oo                       olaanaa                super

u                                     uu                       uffata                  dress/ cloth

The sounds of the following characters are not found in Oromo language, but they are used in the Oromo language as adopted sounds.

Sound                    Example                English translation 

    p                        koppii                            copy

    v                      talavidzinii                    television


A key to pronunciation of any Oromo word

(1) If similar consonants are double in a word, the sound should be stressed/ emphasized.

Example                English translation

komee                         complaint

kommee                      come

 (2) If similar vowels are double in a word the sound should be longer.

Example                English translation

Laagaa                 roof of the mouth

 laga                           river

Afaan Oromo translations of few English phrases

English                                                                Afaan Oromo  

Have a good day.                           Guyyaa nagaa siif haa ta’u.

How are you? (sing/plur)                                Attam jirta/jirtu?

Thank you. (sing/plur)                       Galatoomi/ Galatoomaa

Welcome (sing/plur)                baga nagaan dhufte/ dhuftaanii

How do you say it in Afaan Oromo?           Afaan Oromootiin mal jedhama?

Do you speak English?                   Afaan faranjii ni beektaa?

What is your name?                                  Maqaan kee eenyu?

Who is that?                                                      Eenyu inni?

If you want know more about the grammar rules of Oromiffa click here.




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