Alaba-K’abeena language

Native to Ethiopia
Region Rift Valley southwest of Lake Shala
Native speakers
280,000 (2007 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 alw
Glottolog alab1254[2]

Alaba-Kʼabeena (Alaaba, Alaba, Allaaba, Halaba), also known as Wanbasana, is a Highland East Cushitic language spoken in Ethiopia in the Great Rift Valley southwest of Lake Shala, specifically in Alaba special district and the Kebena district of Gurage Zone. The literacy rate of native speakers in their language is below 1%, while their literacy rate in second languages is 8.6%; Alaba-Kʼabeena is taught in primary schools. It has an 81% lexical similarity with Kambaata.[1] However, Fleming (1976) classifies Kʼabeena (also transliterated "Qebena" or "Kebena") as a dialect of Kambaata, and Blench (2006) classifies both as dialects of Kambaata. The 2007 census in Ethiopia lists Alaba and Qebena as separate languages.[3]

A collection of over 400 proverbs in this language has been published with English translations.[4]


  1. 1 2 Alaba-Kʼabeena at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Alaba-Kʼabeena". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 2007 Census
  4. Gertrud Schneider-Blum. 2009. máakut(i) t'awá shuultáa - Proverbs Finish the Problems. Sayings of the Alaaba (Ethiopia). 114 pp. (Verbal Art and Documentary Literature in African Languages vol.28). Rüdiger Köppe.


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