Contrastive Analysis of Lexical Standardization in Amharic and Hadiyya

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Addis Ababa University


This dissertation compares lexical standardization in Amharic and Hadiyya. The selected research sides were Addis Ababa and the Hadiyya Zone. Language data were gathered from textbooks and dictionaries, which were supplemented by semi-structured interview and focus group discussions. The study found that the overrepresentation of sounds, i.e. /h/, /s/, /s’/ and vowels, became a problem of standardization of Amharic spelling. When the writing system for Amharic developed from the Ge’ez script, it retained unnecessary symbols which caused spelling variation. In Amharic, spelling variation is attested in compounds and loanwords. Regarding orthography reform, the addition of graphemes was successful for Amharic and Hadiyya. However, the proposal for the reduction of extra symbols for Amharic was unsuccessful. The Roman-based Hadiyya orthography violates the principle of economy and transfer. The gemination of digraphs reduces economy while the assignment of different phonetic values to some of the Hadiyya and English sounds negatively affects the transfer of reading and writing skills. In Hadiyya, the graphemes <zh> /ʒ/ and <ny> /ɲ/ are overrepresentations. As regards lexical elaboration strategies, language internal and external resources were extensively used. The strategies of semantic transfer and compounding are predominantly used methods for lexical elaboration in both languages, while abbreviation and blending are less common. Comparatively, Hadiyya is more active than Amharic in extensively employing semantic transfer method. Borrowing and loan translations are identified as the most productive language external means of lexical elaboration in both Amharic and Hadiyya. Amharic and Hadiyya borrowed words mainly with modifications; unmodified borrowing was rarely found in Amharic, but not attested in Hadiyya. In relation to source languages, Amharic and Hadiyya depend more on foreign languages, such as English, Arabic, French and Italian, than on Ethiopian languages. Amharic exploited the genetically related language Ge’ez to enrich its vocabulary, whereas Hadiyya does not exploit related Cushitic languages. Most of the European loanwords entered Hadiyya via Amharic. English is used as a source language of loan translations for Amharic while English and Amharic are used as source languages for Hadiyya



Language data were gathered from textbooks and dictionaries