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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:On visibility and legitimisation of languages: the 'linguistic landscape' in Adaama, Ethiopia
Authors:Wolff, H. EkkehardISNI
Berhanu, Sileshi
Fulea, Getinet
Periodical:Aethiopica: International Journal of Ethiopian Studies (ISSN 1430-1938)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:language policy
Oromo language
Amharic language
English language
External link:https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/aethiopica/article/view/704/718
Abstract:During 2011-2012, photos of various types of public tri-, bi-, and monolingual sign-boards, advertisement, and notices were taken unsystematically on the campus of Adama Science and Technology University (ASTU) in Adaama City, the biggest urban agglomeration in Oromia Regional State, to study multilingualism and polyglossia in Africa in general, and in Ethiopia in particular. The study uses the framework of the 'linguistic landscape' to analyse language visibility in terms of language legitimisation by peoples' attitudes and language policy. Policy documents include the Education and Training Policy (1994), the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (1995), the Revised Constitution of Oromia Regional State (2001/2006), and the Higher Education Proclamation (2009). In its regional constitution the Oromo language or 'Afan Oromo' is identified as the working language of Oromio Regional State. Contrary to the off-campus situation, the on-campus situation clearly favours Amharic over Afan Oromo to the extent that the latter is hardly visible at all. This can only be construed as an attempt, conscious or unconscious, to delegitimize Afan Oromo in the prestigious domain of higher education. The paper suggests the use of trilingual signs in the public sphere on ASTU campus. In that case, all three languages - Amharic, Afan Oromo, and English - would serve vital and important instrumental functions, each of them carrying its own strong symbolism. Bibliogr., noltes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]