The Gafat language
is an extinct Semitic language
that was once spoken along the Abbay River
. The records of this language are extremely sparse: a translation of the Song of Songs
written in the 17th or 18th Century held at the Bodleian Library
, and the reports of W. Leslau who visited the region in 1947 and after considerable work was able to find a total of four people who could still speak the language. Edward Ullendorff
, in his brief exposition on Gafat, concludes that as of the time of his writing, "one may ... expect that it has now virtually breathed its last.
- Johann Christoph Adelung (1812), Mithridates, oder allgemeine Sprachkunde. Berlin. [vol. 3, p. 124-125: the same page from the Gafat text of the Song of Songs as in Bruce 1804 below].
- Charles Tilstone Beke (1846), "On the languages and dialects of Abyssinia and the countries to the south", in: Proceedings of the Philological Society 2 (London), pp. 89-107.
- James Bruce (1804), Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, In the Years 1768, 1769,1770, 1771, 1772 and 1773. 2nd ed. Edinburgh. [vol. 2, pp. 491-499: "Vocabulary of the Amharic, Falashan, Gafat, Agow and Tcheretch Agow languages"; vol. 7, plate III: a page from the Gafat text of the Song of Songs].
- Wolf Leslau (1944), "The position of Gafat in Ethiopic", in: Language 20, pp. 56-65.
- Wolf Leslau (1945), Gafat Documents: Records of a South-Ethiopic language. American Oriental series, no. 28. New Haven.
- Wolf Leslau (1956), Etudes descriptive et comparative du gafat (éthiopien méridional). Paris: C. Klincksieck.
- Hiob Ludolf, Historia Aethiopica. Francofurti ad Moenum. [there are 3 sentences in Gafat with Latin translation in chapter 10, §60].
- Franz Praetorius (1879), Die amharische Sprache. Halle. pp. 13-14.