The Somali language is spoken by over 20 million people world-wide. In Africa, it is the national language of Somalia and is the national language of Somalia and is the second language of large segments of the population in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Kenya. With the recent immigration of Somalis to other continents, the language is now spoken widely in the Middle-East, Western Europe, and North America.
As more and more Somali speakers settle in the United States, there has been a surge of interest in studying the language, not only so people can communicate more easily with& their new neighbors, but also so they can learn about the rich Somali culture.
Knowledge of the Somali language is crucial to anyone in linguistics, anthropology, history and folklore who wants to study in East Africa. Individuals working for international organizations, such as the Peace Corps, will also find that they can accomplish their day-to-day task more easily if they can speak Somali.
Who Speaks Somali?
Archaelogical evidence indicates that the people who live in present day Somalia had occupied the Horn of Africa by 100 A.D. - possibly even earlier. These early nomads showed signs of highly developed pastoral culture. They were also followers of Islam. Their first contact with this religion probably occurred when a group of persecuted Muslims sought refugee in the region at the time of the prophet Muhammad in the eighth century. Eventually, the original inhabitants divided into two distinct groups: the pastoral people who lived in the interior, with informal and varying political structures; and the trading communities of the coast, with administrative and legal systems based on the Muslim sharia.
Source The National African Language Resource Center (NALRC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI