Mesqan language

Native to Ethiopia
Region Gurage Zone
Native speakers
200,000 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mvz
Glottolog mesq1240[2]

Mesqan (also Mäsqan, Meskan) is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken in the Gurage Zone of Ethiopia. It belongs to the family's Ethiopian Semitic branch.


  1. Mesqan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mesqan". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Alemayehu Getachew

MA Thesis OCT 2010 ADDIS ABABA University

MESQAN FOLKTALS a contribution to the documentation of the Mesqan language and its speakers The language and People Mesqan is an Ethio-Semitic language(by family)belonged to west Gurage sub-group (Hetzon 1972:119).Mesqan has no regional dialectal variations (Getu 1989).

Mesqan has no script and it is not used in schools or for administratine purposes.

As the family tree adopted from (Bender 1976:29) shows, Mesqan alon is grouped under the 2 tense group. This shows that Mesqan is different from other Gurage languages that have a 3 tense system.

                                                Western Gurage

                           3-tense group                       2-tense group

            Peripheral                    Central                     Mesqan
     Western Gurage             Western Gurage                        
    (Ener,Endegen,               (Izha,Chaha,
     Enemore,Geto)                Gumer,Gura)
                                                                Bender (1976:29)


The people who speak Mesqan live in Haikochina Butajira Woreda in southern nations, nationality and peoples regional stet (SNNPRS). It is bordered by Soddo to the North, Silti to the south, and Muxir to the west north.

The exact number of Masqan speakers is not mentioned in the central stastic authority (CSA :1994 G.C), but the total number of people in the former Mesqan and Mareqo Woreda amounts 227,135.According to the Ethiopian languages research center booklet (2005) the total number of ethnic Mesqan is 25,000.

The life of the Mesqan based on agriculture and trade .Their staple diet is based on Enset (tabe banana). Most of the Mesqan people are followes the Islamic faith. 1.1.2 The Previous Studies on Mesqan There is no much descriptive work on Mesqan, except a few serios expelanetion and B.A. theses. The study is focus on different areas such as, phonology, noun phrase, and verb morphology of Mesqan.

Leslau,Wolf(2004)discussed Mesqan verb compering with other Gurage language. Indal Naguse (1986) discussed how noun phrase are formed in Masqan, Abduljebar Awol (1988) presented the phonology of Mesqan. Getu Shikur work his senior essay on the verb morphology.

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