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Beja (Badāwīyä / بداوية)

Beja is spoken by about 1.2 million people in parts of Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea. It is also known as Bedawi, Bedauye or To Bedawie, and is generally classified as a North Cushitic language, although some scholars believe it belongs to its own branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family.

There is a method of writing Beja with the Latin alphabet used in Eritrea and taught in schools there. It was developed by a Mr and Mrs Wedekind, linguistics from SIL, in cooperation with the Eritrean authorities. A method of writing Beja with the Arabic alphabet is used to some extent in Sudan, though has no official recognition.

Arabic alphabet for Beja

Beja alphabet and pronunciation

Latin alphabet for Beja

Latin alphabet for Beja


Information about the Beja alphabet and pronunciation compiled by Wolfram Siegel, with additions by Michael Peter Füstumum


Information about the Beja language and people

Cushitic languages

Afaan-Oromo, Afar, Awngi, Beja, Blin, Somali, Xamtanga

Languages written with the Ethiopic (Ge'ez) script

Amharic, Argobba, Awngi, Blin, Chaha, Dizin, Ge'ez, Harari, Inor, Silt'e, Tigre, Tigrinya, Xamtanga