Oromo (Afaan Oromoo)

Oromo is a Cushitic language spoken by about 30 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Egypt, and it is the third largest language in Africa. The Oromo people are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and account for more than 40% of the population. They can be found all over Ethiopia, and particularly in Wollega, Shoa, Illubabour, Jimma, Arsi, Bale, Hararghe, Wollo, Borana and the southwestern part of Gojjam.

Written Oromo

Until the 1970s Oromo was written with either the Ge'ez script or the Latin alphabet. Then during the early 1970s the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) chose the Latin alphabet as the official alphabet to write Oromo. Between 1974 and 1991 under the Mengistu regime the writing of Oromo in any script was forbidden, though limited usage of the Ge'ez script was allowed. In areas with Oromo-speaking Muslim populations the Arabic script is sometimes used.

A new script for Oromo, the Sapalo Script or Sheek Bakrii Saphaloo script, was created in 1956 by Sheikh Bakri Sapalo (18951980), an Oromo scholar, poet and religious teacher from Ethopia. It is only used to a limited extent.

On 3rd November 1991 the OLF convened a meeting of over 1,000 Oromo intellectuals to decide which alphabet to use to write Oromo. After many hours of debate, they decided unanimously to adopt the Latin alphabet.

Source: www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Hornet/Afaan_Oromo_19777.html

Ge'ez script for Oromo

Ge'ez script for Oromo

Arabic script for Oromo

Arabic script for Oromo

Latin alphabet for Oromo (Qubee Afaan Oromoo)

Latin alphabet for Oromo

Download alphabet charts for Oromo (Excel)

Corrections and improvements provided by Michael Peter Füstumum and Wolfram Siegel

Hear how to pronounce the Afaan Oromo alphabet

Sample text in Oromo

Ge'ez script

ነሞ́ቲ ሁንዲኑ́ ቢርመዱ́ ተአኒ́ ሚርጋ ፊ ኡልፊናኒስ ወል-ቂጥጤ́ ተአኒ́ ፀለተን። ሰምሙ́ ፊ ቀልቢ́ ኢትቲ́ን ያደን ዋን ኡ́መማን ኬንነሜ́ፍ፣ ሀፉ́ረ ኦብቦሉምማቲ́ን ወሊ́-ወጅጂን ጂራቹ́ ቀቡ፨

Arabic script

نَمٛوتِ هُندِنُو بِرمَدُو تَانِي مِرغَا فِ ُلفِنَانِس وَل-قِطّٚي تَانِي ضَلَتَن. سَمُّو فِ قَلبِي ِتِّين يَادَن وَان ُومَمَان كٚنَّمٚيف, هَفُورَ ٛببٛلُمَّاتِين وَلِي-وَججِن جِرَاڛُو قَبُ.

Latin alphabet

Namooti hundinuu birmaduu ta'anii mirgaa fi ulfinaanis wal-qixxee ta'anii dhalatan. Sammuu fi qalbii ittiin yaadan waan uumamaan kennameef, hafuura obbolummaatiin walii-wajjin jiraachuu qabu.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample video in Oromo

Information about Oromo | Sheek Bakrii Saphaloo Script for Oromo | Phrases | Numbers


Information about the Afaan Oromo language and alphabet

Online Oromo lessons

Parlons oromo (Oromo course in French)

Oromo dictionaries

Online Oromo radio

Oromo names

Cushitic languages

Afaan-Oromo, Afar, Awngi, Beja, Blin, Daasanach, Gawwada, Hadiyya, Iraqw, Sidama, Somali, Waata, Xamtanga

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 20.05.24


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