Formerly a journalist in his native Somalia, Abdullahi emigrated to Canada, where he earned a Master's degree and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the Université de Montréal in Montreal. He also earned a higher diploma in the instruction of French as a second language at the Université de Franche-comté in Besançon, France.
Abdullahi is fluent in Somali, Arabic, English and French. His research interests include the study of the Afro-Asiatic languages in general (particularly its Cushitic branch), as well as Somali history and culture.
He has also written numerous books, notably Culture and Customs of Somalia published by Greenwood Publishing Group in 2001, where he addresses the obscure origins of the Somali people, among other topics.
Abdullahi currently teaches linguistics at the Université de Montréal.
- Abdullahi, Mohamed Diriye, Culture and Customs of Somalia, (Greenwood Publishing Group: 2001). ISBN 0313313334 ISBN 9780313313332
- Abdullahi, Mohamed Diriye, Parlons somali (French Edition), (L'Harmattan: 1996). ISBN 2738448984 ISBN 978-2738448989
- Abdullahi, Mohamed Diriye, Fiasco in Somalia: US-UN intervention, (Africa Institute of South Africa: 1995). ISBN 0798301252 ISBN 978-0798301251
- Is Somali a Tone Language? -- Paper demonstrating that Somali is not a tonal language.
- The Evolution and Meaning of the Cardinal Directions in Somali -- Paper showing how the four words for the cardinal directions in the Somali language evolved into their present forms.
- The Diachronic Development of the Progressive in Somali -- Paper discussing the formation of the progressive tense in the Somali language.
- Le somali, dialectes, et histoire -- Examination, analysis and classification of linguistic varieties spoken in Somalia and collectively dubbed "Somali".