Somali is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family, spoken by ethnic Somalis in Somalia and adjacent parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as by the Somali diaspora around the world, with an estimated total population of between 10 and 16 million speakers. Somali was declared the official language of Somalia in 1972 and is used in education, administration and the media.

Somali was the national language of Somalia from 1972, gaining official status after standardization and the adoption of the Latin alphabet, developed under orders of the then dictator Siad Barre. After the collapse of the central Somali government in the Somali civil war in the 1990s, Somali has remained an official language or de facto national language of the various regional governments such as Somaliland and Puntland.

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See also: Country Profile - Somalia

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