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Dahalo

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Dahalo is an endangered South Cushitic language. They inhabit the Kenyan coast near the mouth of Tana River. They are about 400 people who are able to speak the language. It is unlikely that children are still being taught the Dahalo language of this Kenya tribe.

The Dahalo are dispersed among Swahili and other Bantu peoples, with no villages of their own, and are bilingual in those languages. Dahalo has a highly diverse sound system using all four airstream mechanisms found in human language: clicks, ejectives, and implosives, as well as the universal pulmonic sounds. It is suspected that the Dahalo may have once spoken a Sandawe- or Hadza-like language, and that they retained clicks in some words.

They are often referred as the remnants of Africa’s oldest cultural group the san. They were hunter/gatherers, with traditionally about 80% of their diet consisting of plant food, including berries, nuts, roots and melons gathered primarily by the women and the rest 20% composed of meat from wild animals. Their social structure was not tribal since they didn’t have a paramount leader.

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