The case of Amharic language

298 SHARES by Amish Tefera The usage of Amharic as the language of the court and its empire dates back to the 13th century.Whether this language was entirely attached to a certain people is debatable. The language with its unique alphabet was the official language of Ethiopia until 1991.After 1991 the TPLF led EPRDF pushed the language by law to the rank of the working language of the federal government .However, the language still retains its social and political force across the country. Amhara, SNNP, Benshangul Gumuz, Gambella and Addis Ababa still use it as the working language of their administration. What happened in Tigray and Oromia regions is a thing to be considered. Tigray region allowed only Tigrigna language to be the working language of its state and on top of that giving Tigre identity to the like of Raya and Wolqite people. The new generation of Tigray who left in their school days to the capital eventually learned Amharic and grew up as bilingual those who could not make it settled in the region. Similarly in Oromia Afan Oromo was introduced as the main language giving Amharic the exit door for children. Non Oromos have no right to use their language and cultivate it even if they are millions and the constitution of Oromia do not recognize the existence non oromos in its region. That led to the formation of Qube generation. This generation which neither speak or write the Amharic alphabets is filled with abhorrence not only to the Amharic language but also the formation of Ethiopia as a nation. The generation is entirely confused as they became monolingual and unable to assume work in the capital and hence more feel cornered. Now Ethiopian Ministry of Education declared its intention to start Amharic from grade 1 in all regions as the language is the federal working language of the country. However we are hearing a lot of croaking like monsoon frogs from political activists of Tigray and Oromo. They want the role of their respective language to assume the status of Amharic and at the same time avoid Amharic in their back yard. This is double standard and red herring which lacks basic knowledge of the country on top of that they could not see the issue in its entirety. The farce part of their moaning is the ultra-nationalists across the board still use Amharic in their media outlets. Reality check in today`s Ethiopia reveals all forms of symposiums and “people to people” relations are communicated through and by the use of Amharic. Oromo vs Somali; Oromo vs Tigray; Sidama vs Tigray. The list is countless and facts speak for themselves. Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa stated when commenting about the reform process taking place under Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia should maintain its legacy as an independent nation from colonization. He further stressed the importance of Amharic as a Lingua Franca as it bridges the country. The choice of language usage should be left for professionals and not politicians. Politicians want to superimpose their interest on the people by fabricating deceits and narrations that will sensitize the youth. When choosing the languages on different levels it should help the society as whole not a certain group. It has to study its feasibility, importance and reality on the ground. Language needs a lot of work and generation to thrive. In Ethiopia nobody forbids to write books, plays and broadcast TV and radio channels in various languages. How many non Amharic media outlets do we find? May be near to zero. What happened? Who prohibited? The answer is none. The reform looks a positive move as many people could be able to navigate resources written in Amharic. The people who were barred to communicate would be released and assume work, business and enjoy all the fruits of our country if peace and security is maintained.

The case of Amharic language

by Amish Tefera

The usage of Amharic as the language of the court.

The usage of Amharic as the language of the court and its empire dates back to the 13th century.Whether this language was entirely attached to a certain people is debatable. The language with its unique alphabet was the official language of Ethiopia until 1991.After 1991 the TPLF led EPRDF pushed the language by law to the rank of the working language of the federal government .However, the language still retains its social and political force across the country. Amhara, SNNP, Benshangul Gumuz, Gambella and Addis Ababa still use it as the working language of their administration.

What happened in Tigray and Oromia regions is a thing to be considered. Tigray region allowed only Tigrigna language to be the working language of its state and on top of that giving Tigre identity to the like of Raya and Wolqite people. The new generation of Tigray who left in their school days to the capital eventually learned Amharic and grew up as bilingual those who could not make it settled in the region. Similarly in Oromia Afan Oromo was introduced as the main language giving Amharic the exit door for children. Non Oromos have no right to use their language and cultivate it even if they are millions and the constitution of Oromia do not recognize the existence non oromos in its region. That led to the formation of Qube generation. This generation which neither speak or write the Amharic alphabets is filled with abhorrence not only to the Amharic language but also the formation of Ethiopia as a nation. The generation is entirely confused as they became monolingual and unable to assume work in the capital and hence more feel cornered.

Now Ethiopian Ministry of Education declared its intention to start Amharic from grade 1 in all regions as the language is the federal working language of the country. However we are hearing a lot of croaking like monsoon frogs from political activists of Tigray and Oromo. They want the role of their respective language to assume the status of Amharic and at the same time avoid Amharic in their back yard. This is double standard and red herring which lacks basic knowledge of the country on top of that they could not see the issue in its entirety. The farce part of their moaning is the ultra-nationalists across the board still use Amharic in their media outlets. Reality check in today`s Ethiopia reveals all forms of symposiums and “people to people” relations are communicated through and by the use of Amharic.

Oromo vs Somali; Oromo vs Tigray; Sidama vs Tigray. The list is countless and facts speak for themselves. Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa stated when commenting about the reform process taking place under Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia should maintain its legacy as an independent nation from colonization. He further stressed the importance of Amharic as a Lingua Franca as it bridges the country.

The choice of language usage should be left for professionals and not politicians. Politicians want to superimpose their interest on the people by fabricating deceits and narrations that will sensitize the youth. When choosing the languages on different levels it should help the society as whole not a certain group. It has to study its feasibility, importance and reality on the ground. Language needs a lot of work and generation to thrive. In Ethiopia nobody forbids to write books, plays and broadcast TV and radio channels in various languages. How many non Amharic media outlets do we find? May be near to zero. What happened? Who prohibited? The answer is none.

The reform looks a positive move as many people could be able to navigate resources written in Amharic. The people who were barred to communicate would be released and assume work, business and enjoy all the fruits of our country if peace and security is maintained.