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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Language policy, ideologies, power and the Ethiopian media
Authors:Abiodun SalawuISNI
Aseres, Asemahagn
Periodical:Communicatio: South African journal for communication theory and research (ISSN 1753-5379)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Amharic language
language policy
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/02500167.2015.1018288
Abstract:Ethiopia is one of the very few African countries where the local language press is in the mainstream. Amharic-language newspapers are dominant. This article examines the extent of the dominance of the Amharic press and the factors responsible for this. It also looks at language politics in the country and activism for linguistic human rights, particularly in the media domain. A combination of literature reviews and document analyses was used to obtain data for the study. The Amharic language enjoys a privileged position compared to other indigenous languages of Ethiopia and English. Amharic is the second most widely spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic. It is the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and several regional states within the federal system. It is also the official language of the military and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. Although it is only indigenous to about 23 per cent of the population, its official status sees it being spoken nationwide. Interestingly, Afan Oromo, a Cushitic language, is indigenous to 33.80 per cent of the population, and thus can be regarded as the largest indigenous language in Ethiopia. While the wide dissemination of local language media in Ethiopia can be explained by the historical fact that the country was never colonised, the emergence of Amharic as the de facto language of the nation and the media is what interests the authors. The study discovered that the dominance of Amharic is due to the language policies of successive Ethiopian regimes down the ages which privileged it over other indigenous languages. Bibliogr., note, sum. [Journal abstract]