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Oromo phonology

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Title: Oromo phonology  
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Oromo phonology

This article describes the phonology of the Oromo language.


The Oromo language has 24 to 28 consonant phonemes depending on the dialect.

Velar Glottal
Stop Voiceless () ch // ' //
Voiced j // g //
Ejective ph // x // c // q //
Implosive dh //
Fricative Voiceless sh // (kh )
Voiced () ()
Nasal ny //
Approximant y //

/ɗ/ is a voiced retroflex plosive. It may have an implosive quality for some speakers.

The voiceless stops /t/ and /k/ are always aspirated.

/d/ and /t/ are dental

The velar fricative [x] is mainly used in the eastern dialect (Harar) as a phoneme. It is represented as kh in the Oromo script (Qubee) though it is pronounced as a k in most other dialects.


Oromo has five vowels which all contrast long and short vowels. Sometimes there is a change in vowel quality when the vowel is short. Short vowels tend to be more centralized than their counterparts.

Though sometimes diphthongs may occur, there are none that occur in a word's unaltered form.

Oromo Vowels
Front Central Back
close i //, ii // u //, uu //
Mid e //, ee // o //, oo //
Open a // aa //


When needed, the conventions for marking tone in written Oromo are as follows:

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