Language Use and Attitude of the Gamo Community Living in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


The main objective of this study is to investigate the state of Gamo language maintenance among the specific community in Addis Ababa. The study examines whether members of the community are using their ethnic language in the various domains such as families, ethnic in-group associations, friendship circles and in the neighborhood. It also examines their language maintenance efforts, language attitudes and proficiency as well as the sense of ethnic identities of members of the community. The study has employed questionnaire, interviews and observation to gather the data required for the study. A total of 119 subjects were used for a self-reported questionnaire and other 20 subjects were interviewed. Accordingly, the study has revealed that most of the members of the community are shifting to the use of Amharic in the aforementioned domains of language use. The study has also revealed that most of the members of the community have negative attitudes towards their ethnic language, but are almost equally proficient in both Gamo and the dominant language-Amharic. This shows the bilingual characteristics of the community. In this study, it has also been found that parents in the community do not very much contribute their effort to transmit their language to their children for the language to be maintained. The study has also shown that members of the community have no strong link with their ethnic group. Generally, even though the case may be different at the homeland, measured by Fishman’s graded intergenerational disruptive scale, the language falls at the level of extinction next to stage 8 which is the worst stage for language extinction.



Language Use, and Attitude of the Gamo