Lexical Standardization in Oromo

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Addis Ababa University


This study is about the lexical standardization of Oromo. It examines the components of standardization in the light of Haugen’s (1966, 1969) proposal. This proposal classifies the process of standardization into four components: (1) selection (2) codification (3) elaboration and (4) implementation. The study begins with the identification of base dialects. The following four criteria are used to identify the base dialects in Oromo. They are: (1) written documents (2) the mass media (3) current status of the dialect and (4) attitude of speakers. The application of the above criteria helps us to propose all dialects of Oromo as base in the process of standardization. To choose the dialect base varieties as standard form some criteria are established and graded. These criteria include (1) number of speakers (2) frequency of occurrence (3) originality, (4) productivity (5) economy, (6) semantic transparency and acceptance (7) written documents (textbooks and dictionaries) (8) mass media and (9) current standardizing tendency. The above criteria are used for choosing the standard forms that can be used across dialects. Different methods of lexical elaboration are adopted (Crystal, 1997:15; Bauer, 1983: 11, 234; Mathew, 1991:37). Of these, blending, semantic extension, compounding, derivation and borrowing are mainly considered to develop the lexical adequacy of Oromo Similarly, implementation is examined in the light of different activities, and is done by organizations such as the Oromo Language Standardization Committee, the education sector, the mass media, etc., as well as by individuals.



Lexical Standardization