• Daniel Abera


Language situations of a country are ever changing. Such changing situations have been exhibited frequently in multilingual, pluralist countries like Ethiopia. Formulating the changes in terms of sociolinguistic profiles is one viable approach to recapitulate the changes.

This article, like the previous works of Ferguson (1972), and Takkele (1985) describes the dynamic multilingual situations of Ethiopia to date using the sociolinguistic profile formula designed by Ferguson 1966; Kloss 1968; Stewart 1968; and Ngalsso 1981.

The study mainly focuses on twenty-three Ethiopian languages with speakers of more than a hundred thousand each except Ge'ez. Seven of these languages are identified as major languages, and fifteen as minor languages. Ge'ez, English and Arabic are considered as special languages.

In addition, the altered roles of Arabic, English and Italian as discussed in Ferguson (1972), Stoddart (1986) are raised with a view to examining their current status.


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Aklilu Vilma (forthcoming) "Inventory of Ethiopian Languages."
Barbara F. Grimes (ed.). 1988. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. USA: SIL.
Ferguson, Charles. 1971. "National Sociolinguistic Profile Formulas." In: Bright, (ed.) ociolinuuistics Conference. the Hague,
Mouton 309-324.
Haub, Carl and Machiko Yanagisilita. 1995. "World Population Data Sheet." Washington: Population Reference Bureau (PRB) Inc.
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How to Cite
ABERA, Daniel. LANGUAGE PROFILES IN ETHIOPIA: A SOCIOLINGUISTIC APPROACH. Ethiopian Journal of Languages and Literature, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 5, p. 57 - 78, oct. 1995. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 sep. 2020.
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