Sheko (S’oku noogu)

Sheko is a member of the Omotic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It is spoken in southwestern Ethiopia, in the Gambel Region, and in the Bench Maji Zone of the Ethiopian Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region. In 2007 there were about 43,800 speakers of Sheko, which is also known as Shak, Shako, Sheka, Shekka, Shekko or Tschako. Dialects include Tepi and Guraferda.

In 2009 a way of writing Shako with of the Latin alphabet was developed, and educational materials are being developed using this orthography. Before then some people wrote Sheko using the Ethiopic script. Sheko is taught in some primary schools, and also used on the radio.

Sheko alphabet (S’oku noogu aab)

Sheko alphabet (S’oku noogu aab)


Sheko tones can be indicated as follows: á = high tone, a = mid tone, à = low tone, ǎ = rising tone, â = falling tone

Download an alphabet chart for Sheko (Excel)

Samplet text in Sheko

kookn shadnka daanta kib S’oku yaabonka
dacha ítira sasku qarnsab bengiqa
bengs náng tәkә azqa ń qaynbab
náng s’oon qoy antə faadu ń kaysnbab
unabab qyaastə qarns footutə
ń dadu tamarstә ń noogu arutə
wota saanta ń baznbab ń dadukn maakutə
unaka haaqastaka bazxabara sesutә
ń noogu ń angusә qoy footutә


Sheko people in far places and nearby
in the new era which got you there suitably
the year is ours in it we will rise
make our hearts one wipe out hunger
leave the past and become new
teach our children consider our language
in the future what we will do is tellling our children
showing what has been done in the past and now
expand our language becoming one

Source: A grammar of Sheko by Anneke Christine Hellenthal (2010)

Sample videos in Sheko


Information about Sheko

Omotic languages

Aari, Bambassi, Bench, Dizin, Hamer(-Banna), Kafa, Sheko, Wolaytta

Languages written with the Ethiopic (Ge'ez) script

Aari, Amharic, Argobba, Awngi, Bench, Blin, Chaha, Dizin, Ge'ez, Gumuz, Hamer(-Banna), Harari, Inor, Sidama, Silt'e, Tigre, Tigrinya, Xamtanga

Page last modified: 05.07.23


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