Somali Animal Vocabulary

Today, I’m going to focus on learning some basic animals and insects in Somali. I don’t usually bring up animals in conversations, but when you’re learning a language in a rural area, people often like to point to animals and quiz you on them. It’s already happened to me twice, so I figure it’s time I knuckle down and learn these.

  1. faras = horse
  2. ri = goat
  3. dameer = donkey
  4. libaax = lion
  5. ido = sheep
  6. ey = dog
  7. yey = wild dog
  8. jiir = mouse
  9. geel = camel
  10. qorrato = lizard
  11. shimbir = bird
  12. bisad = cat
  13. qudhaanjo = ant
  14. shinni = bee
  15. kalluun = fish
  16. mas = snake
  17. kaneeco = mosquito
  18. caaro = spider
  19. maroodi = elephant
  20. balanbaalis = butterfly
  21. baranbaro = cockroach
  22. aboor = termite

Once I went through all these words with a Somali speaker (what a gift!), I drew little pictures for each one to review. My artistic standards have fallen since Day 1, where I was creating these colorful home decor items, but these sketches worked just fine for today’s purposes (and I’m not planning on hanging them on the walls). In any case, sketches are still a great way to stop translating, and start associating a word with what it means directly.

Such beautiful animals, right? I mean, check out that donkey! And that camel!?!