Somali Language is an Arabic Language but it is wrongly added and recognized as one of the Afro-Asiatic Language family,specially Hamatic group,where it is the member of Cushitic Languages which containing Oromo,Afar,Saho,Sedamo…etc,and that was the result from the western Scholars who are not native speakers of this language,where most of those who speak this language as their mother tongue believe that this language is Arabic and related Sametic Language and it is not Cushitic Language.
The Somali Language has been the national language since 1972,gaining official status with standardization(standard Somali) and the adoption of the Latin alphabet.
The exact number of speakers of Somali is unknown.One source estimates that there are 7.18 million speakers of Somali in Somaliland and Somalia and Djibouti and 12.65 million speakers globally.
It is spoken in Somaliland and Somalia in ethnic Somalis,Djibouti,Ethiopia,and by the Kenya and Yemen.
Somali Language has 22 consonant phonemes,with at least one in every place of articulation described on the IPA(international phonetic Alphabet) chart,it has five basic vowel sounds,each having a front and back variation,as well as long or short version.
The Somali latin alphabet used since 1972 was developed specifically for the Somali Language using all letters of the English Latin alphabet except P,V and Z.
There are no diacritics or other special characters,although it includes 3 consonant digraphs:DH,KH,and SH.Tone is not marked,front and back vowels are not distinguished,and a word-initial glottal stop is not shown.
Capital letters are used at the beginning of a sentence and for proper names.
Somali Language is an Arabic but as a form of dialect,see it's contents and it's vocabulary,see it's building and it's place of articulation,see it's phonemes and it's phonology,see it's semantics and it's syntax,see every field we study in linguistics.
People may get surprise and astonishment to hear that Somali language is an Arabic, they may could hardly believe with their ears but when they see deeply the contents of this language and it's behaviour they will recognize and send curses to those who missled them,most people see that there are Arabic words in Somali language which came as a loan words but the reality is that the origin of Somali language is Arabic but other languages including Cushitic and Colony languages are those which came as loan words,and their shared words are very few in number less than one percent.
Let's see together our origin and the language which our forefathers were speaking,we should make clear that when our forefather came this land they communicated with those who came before them by Arabic,and when they settled and became among the inhabitants of this land the communicating and speaking Arabic language continued and still it is alife and fully used,it is not to wonder that it seems as a language stands by itself out of any other language but really it is a dialect among the Arabic dialects but it's strength and it's richness shows as language not a dialect.
Let's take a little swift tour about our origin and our arrival and coming of this land and reasons around it,which may make clear that we still speak Arabic language but as a form of dialect.
A nation aged with Islam and was'nt there before Islam,it's Somalia as we know the first immigration for the Muslims was that to Abayssinia country(Ardal habash)where there was Najashi the king of Abayssinia in that time,when Muslims arrived there after hard discussion with the king and it's consultants as there was some men sent by Qureish who tried to make problem between the Muslims and Najashi and that is how to make Najashi refuse the acceptance of that immigrated Muslims but by Allah's mercy the king accepted them and welcomed them,as he became Muslin latterly as well as most of the people who were living in that area became Muslims including that region which known Somalia where inhabitants were Oromo people in that time who at last displaced and moved towards Oxum regions,
Then let's say something about Somalia and it's History the forefathers of Somali people mostly came from Arab countries in the second century of the Hijra,the Fifth or Sixth century of BC, where they were Muslim Sheikhs who made their travels for the sake of this religion and to spread it through the area they can reach and they passed through Yeman to Northern regions of Somalis where there is a red sea which joins Yeman with East Africa,the big evidence for that is the most of Somali forefathers are buried their in North regions which has coustal border with Yeman,Erigavo region and it's area,that is why Somalian people are all Muslims as they have only one doctrine(Mad-hab)they are all having Mad-hab Alshaafi'i,and mostly they speak with one language
Somali language which is Arabic language but some changes occurred in it's building and its semantics because of the geographical distance between Jazeera Alarabia and Horn of Africa, where Somali people took home at last,most of the original Arabic words are not changed and still used as it is,a very few in number have been occurred what we call phonetic shift or semantic shift,it's phonemes goes under Arabic rules,Every place of articulation is equal to the Arabic place of articulation except G and Dh and these two consonants are used in Arabic dialects for example Q or J in Arabic sometimes are pronounced as G,but Dh is close with the(daad),so that all Somali phonology and phonemes are same with Arabic Language ones because it is the origin of this language.
Before one decade I prepared my Master theses in linguistics in the field of Somali semantics,in that time I was believed and thinking that Somali language has a great relationship with the Arabic language and a lot of it's vocabulary are Arabic words,but after more researchs and more studies about the topic I declared that Somali language is an Arabic and originally these people used to speak pure Arabic as they still speak it with a litlle changes occured semantically and phonetically,and as one of my specialization was Arabic language from degree to a higher education,then I recognized that Somali vocabulary is an Arabic wether in it's form or has taken a little move and shift in the semantics and phonetics.
We should draw to our attention that whole vocabulary of Somali language is Arabic except a small amount which has been borrowed from neighboring nations(Oroma, Afar)and the colony languages(English,Italian and French) the remainder which is very few is newly born words in the needy bases of the daily life activities,which may come as atomopia I mean words which are expressed as their sounds,and some others are extracted from Arabic and it has taken a new semantical or phonetical form.
In Somali language you will write down exactly what you have heard like the International Phonetic Alphabet(IPA).
The western Scholars(Almustashriqiin)wrongly added this language to the family of Hametic language specially Cushitic language but really this language is an Arabic language than any other language where there is more than 90% of it's vocabulary is Arabic and in every field of the language there are majority Arabic words we know that the relation between two language may be either basic relationship or communicative relationship,and if the two languages have basic relationship means these two language shares in original background,forexample when these language shares words telling about the earth,heavens,the body parts… etc they have basic relations.
Where communicationally languages can relate each other,and it can take and can give loan words,you can see easily that Somali language and Arabic language having both relations Basic and Communicative relations as an example earth in Somali language it's said Ardi or Arli where Sky is called Samo and about body parts face is weji,neck is une,back neck is raqabad,heart is qalbi,chest is sadri,brain is Aqli,mind is laab,forhead is nasin,knee is ruug,forearm is udud and other words which are invisible but has a close relation with body such life is naf,soul is ruuh,dead is mowt,near to die is sakaraat,grave is qabri and many other words which is basic relation but has taken a new form can be recognized after deep attention,where other communicative words are too much and approxmaitily more than 75% of the vocabulary.
In every field we will get uncountable Arabic words let's take an example of several fields such social field,Commercial,Political,Equipments and Education field.
Social words:bayt,sariir,kursi,marwaxad,albaab,gidaar…. dookh,xariif, nidaam, khiyaamo,khayaali,feker,ra'yi,aroos,aroosad,meher,casumaad,tacsi,farxad,qado,casho,shaqo,camal,shuqul,xirfad,munaasabad…etc.
Commercial words:suuq,tijaaro,taajir,baayacmushtari,kiilo,miisaan,nus kiile, rodol,rubuc,wiqiyad,qaali,rakhiis,jumlad,tafaariiq,badeecad,kiis,jowaan,dukaan, meherad,bedlad,toob,surwaal….etc
Political words:siyaasad,xukun,xukuumad,dawlad,wasiir,raiisal wasaare,wakiil,xisbi, mucaarid,muxaafid,wakiil,wakaalad,wasaarad,shooki,dacwad,maxkamad,rafcan,qaaddi,sawd,mansab,derejo,jeeysh,askari,saanad,rasaas,saad,mu'aamarad,inqilaab,dastuur,safiir,safaarad…..etc
Religion field is already used as it is and there is no changes has taken place at all.
Educatin and science words:tacliin,macalin,dersi,xiisad,tabaashiir,sabuurad,qalin, safxad,masaxaad,istikad,muxaadaro,nusa saace,fasal,qeexid, bu',sharrax, dabeecad, bii'ad,xadiid,xaraarad,jawi,xajmi,miisaan,neef,xadaarad,qadiim,casri,hawo,macdan, jahli,natiijo,najax,fows,xariif,saaqid,derejo,xisaab,taariikh,cilmi,culimo,maaddo,imtixaan…etc
Broadcast field:idaacad,suxufi,suxufiyiin,saxaafad,war,khabar,akhbaar,weriye, khadka telefoonka,xamaas,saxiifad,jariidad,majallad,shebekad,inqilaab siyaasadeed, ictiraaf caalami ah,xal siyaasi ah,barnaamij…etc.
Vegetable are mostly Arabic:muus,tufaax,liin,tamaandho,baradho,saytuun…etc
The above mentioned examples are just a view of the availability of the Arabic words in every field and you can't touch to the end till you touch the end of Arabic words.
This is surely confirms the exact identity of Somali Language which is an Arabaic.
It's not what to wonder to see that whole community of Somalia is Muslim because they born as Muslims from Muslim parents in Islamic environment where the nearest unbelievers were those who live in Abbyssinia,who can't make any touch or contact with them by any how,and their relation was enemity only,where there was a long historical fighting between the two nations about their believings.
So we get the result of Somali language as a form of Arabic dialect,and most strong ones in existence.
Somali people speak an Arabi Language by a form of dialect where most of it's vocabulary is Arabic and it's building and it's phonemis and syntax is exactly Arabic,and we the native speaker of this Language are proud to improve at last the identity and the origin of this Language and make fail the misleading of the western scholars who don't know about this Language and it's nature behaviour which is Arabic in every form.
Saeed Ibrahim Hussein