Xamtanga language

Pronunciation ˈχamtaŋa
Native to Ethiopia
Region North Amhara Region
Native speakers
210,000 (2007 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 xan
Glottolog xamt1239[2]

Xamtanga (also Agawinya, Khamtanga, Simt'anga, Xamir, Xamta) is a Central Cushitic language spoken in Ethiopia by the Xamir people.

Sound system


Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Mid vowel ə
Low vowel a

The central vowels /ɨ ə a/ have fronted and backed allophones, depending on the adjacent consonant(s).


Labial Coronal Postalveolar
or palatal
Velar Uvular Glottal
Plain Labialized Plain Labialized
Plosives and
Voiceless t t͡ʃ k q
Voiced b d d͡ʒ a ɡʷ
Ejective t͡ʃʼ kʷʼ
Fricatives Voiceless f s ʃ χ χʷ ɨ*
Voiced z
Nasals m n ŋ ŋʷ
Lateral l
Tap ɾ
Semivowels j w

Phonological processes


In positions other than word-initial, Xamtanga contrasts geminate and non-geminate consonants. With most consonants, the difference between a geminate and a non-geminate is simply one of length, but the cases of /b t q/ are more complex. When not word-initial, non-geminate /b/ is realized as a bilabial [β] or labiodental fricative [v], and /t/ and /q/ are realized as affricates: [tθ qχ]. Their geminate equivalents may be realized as prolonged [bː tː qː], or can simply be short [b t q].

In word-initial position, geminate consonants do not occur, and /b t q/ are realized as plosives.


  1. Ethiopia 2007 Census
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Xamtanga". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.


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