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Tigre language

Nativenameቲግሬ Tigre, ኻሳ Xasa
StatesEritrea, Sudan
Speakers800,000 in Eritrea (1997)
Fam3South Semitic
Fam5North Ethiopic

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For other uses please see Tigre (disambiguation)

Tigre (Ge'ez ትግረ tigre or ትግሬ tigrē; sometimes written as Tigré, also known as Xasa in Sudan; Arabic الخاصية ḫāṣiyah) is a Semitic language, which, along with Tigrinya, is believed to be one of direct descendants of the extinct Ge'ez language. (Ge'ez is still in use as the liturgical language of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church.) As of 1997, Tigré was spoken by approximately 800,000 people in Eritrea. The Tigre people are nearly all found in western Eritrea, with the remainder inhabiting the adjacent part of Sudan. In Eritrea, they inhabit the central and northern plateau and the Red Sea shores north of Zula. Traditionally, the local language of the Dahlak Archipelago, Dahlik, has been considered a dialect of Tigré, but recently one researcher has reassessed this view.

The Tigré people are not be confused with their neighbors to the south, the Tigrinya people of Eritrea and Ethiopia. The northern Ethiopian province which is now named the Tigray Region is a territory of the Tigrinyas.

Traditionally, the Arabic alphabet was used to write Tigré, at least among Muslims. The Ge'ez alphabet has been used since the 1902 translation of the New Testament by Tewolde-Medhin Gebre-Medhin, Dawit Amanuel, and Swedish missionaries. Many Muslim Tigrés still use the Arabic alphabet.

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