Asmara - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Tigrinya is helpful but not essential. English is the language of instruction for middle and high school, and most younger people know at least a bit. Shop owners that cater to expats speak English very well. Older people will not speak English, but many speak Italian. - Apr 2021

You can get by pretty well with English. I'm told Tigrinya classes are available, but I don't know. - Dec 2019

Not necessary. Eritrean schools are conducted entirely in English from grade 7 up, so most Eritreans, especially younger ones, have at least some working knowledge of English, though most are not fluent. Although the dominant local language in Asmara is Tigrinya (related to Amharic), Arabic is also an official language, and many Asmarinos have decent Arabic, so that can be useful if you speak it. Older Eritreans may speak Italian. I've seen few formal Tigrinya teaching programs, but it should be pretty easy to arrange lessons or tutoring affordably if desired. - Feb 2019

Tigrinya is the local language, but in Asmara English is everywhere. I have not heard of formal Tigrinya classes but there are some private tutors. - Sep 2018

You can make it without the local language. It is more difficult if you are trying to do you own day-to-day shopping however. There are always someone around who will teach local languages at a reasonable rate. - Dec 2016

A little is appreciated, but not required. - Aug 2007

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