The Bench language is a member of the North Omotic branch of Afro-Asiatic language family. It is spoken by about 356,000 people in the Bench Maji Zone in the north of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region in southern Ethiopia, particularly around the towns of Mizan Teferi and Shewa Gimira (ሼይ ቤንች).
Bench is also known as Bencnon, Shenon, Mernon or Gimira. There are three main dialects: the Bench dialect, which has about 347,636 speakers; the Mer dialect with about 8,159 speakers; and the She dialect with about 492 speakers.
Bench is rarely written, but when it is a version of the Ethiopic script is used. Latin-based transcription systems, like the one below are also used.
There is a whistled version of Bench, used mainly by men, that enables communication across long distances. There is also a form of the language that can be played on the krar, a five or six stringed lyre.
Bench audio New Testament
Page last modified: 07.09.23
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