Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Somali Language: The Mirror that Reflects our Identity

By Mahdi Sultan

Language is a system that is unique to human beings. Some animal species may mimic or learn some features of human language but these creatures do not have the language faculty that endowed or unique to humans known as Language Acquisition Devise (LAD)

When we say we speak a language, particularly our native languages, we know the sound system of that particular language. The knowledge of our first language sound system starts in early stages in our life. For instance, we are exposed to a very rich language input by hearing our mothers’ songs and lullabies. As children, we are able to produce all the phonemes of our language. Phonemes are the minimal meaningful units in a language. These speech sounds could be identified by the native speakers or those who acquired them as a second or third language.Af_Soomaali

The phonemic sounds of languages are different from one language to another. For instance, the sound of the Somali phoneme of /c/ is different from the English /a/. Some of the Somali sounds like/q/, /kh/, /x/ are not in the English sound system. Similarly, the English phonemes like /z/, /p/, and /v/ are not available in Somali sound system or phonetics.

The second component of language system is our knowledge of phonology. Phonology is the study of how phonemes are grouped or sequenced so they can work together as a system. For example, we know as Somali speakers that consonants should be separated by either short or long vowels. Like wabi should not be pronounced or written as wbi. We also know that English have the sound feature known as consonant clusters where two or more consonants are grouped without vowels.

Read more: Somali Language

Mahdi Sultan
Minneapolis Minnesota
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