The Development of Oromo Writing System

Degeneh Bijiga, Teferi (2015) The Development of Oromo Writing System. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,.

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Abstract

The development and use of languages for official, education, religion, etc. purposes have been a major political issue in many developing multilingual countries. A number of these countries, including China and India, have recognised the issues and developed language policies that have provided some ethnic groups with the right to develop their languages and cultures by using writing systems based on scripts suitable for these purposes. On the other hand, other countries, such as Ethiopia (a multilingual African state) had, for a long time, preferred a policy of one language and one script in the belief that this would help the assimilation of various ethnic groups create a homogenous population with one language and culture. Rather than realizing that aim, the policy became a significant source of conflict and demands for political independence among disfavoured groups. This thesis addresses the development of a writing system for Oromo, a language spoken by approximately 40 percent of the total population of Ethiopia, which remained officially unwritten until the early 1990s. It begins by reviewing the early history of Oromo writing and discusses the Ethiopian language policies, analysing materials written in various scripts and certain writers starting from the 19th century. The adoption of Roman script for Oromo writing and the debates that followed are explored, with an examination of some phonological aspects of the Oromo language and the implications of representing them using the Roman alphabet. This thesis argues that the Oromo language has thrived during the past few years having implemented a Roman-based alphabetical script. There have been and continue to be, however, internal and external challenges confronting the development of the Oromo writing system which need to be carefully considered and addressed by stakeholders, primarily by the Oromo people and the Ethiopian government, in order for the Oromo language to establish itself as a fully codified language in the modern nation-state.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Hayward, Richard
Thesis advisor: Hornsby, David
Thesis advisor: Fischer, Mike
Uncontrolled keywords: Linguistics
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > Centre for English and World Languages
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2015 18:00 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:31 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/52387 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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