Language and National Identity: Amharic in Ethiopia

Fellman, Jack
March 1992
Research in African Literatures;Spring1992, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p173
Academic Journal
The article presents an overview of language and national identity in Ethiopia. Amharic, the African-Semitic language, which is Ethiopia's national tongue, although spoken by only 40 per cent of the population, has unquestionably been the dominant language of historic Abyssinia from the early Middle Ages, following the demise of the Axumite Empire. To symbolize the unique status of Amharic, Article 125 of Ethiopia's 1955 constitution, declared it the official language of the Empire, and in 1972 the Imperial Academy of the Amharic language was established to consolidate its position. However, the 1974 Revolution changed this language policy, and the wealth of tongues in the country was officially recognized.


Related Articles

  • PEOPLE.  // Background Notes on Countries of the World: Federal Democratic R;Oct2008, p2 

    The article presents information on Ethiopians. Majority of the population speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. Its major ethnic groups include the Oromo, Amhara and Tigreans. There are a total of 77 different ethnic groups in the country. The most widely spoken foreign language among...

  • Classifying Amharic webnews. Asker, Lars; Argaw, Atelach Alemu; Gambäck, Björn; Asfeha, Samuel Eyassu; Habte, Lemma Nigussie // Information Retrieval Journal;Jun2009, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p416 

    We present work aimed at compiling an Amharic corpus from the Web and automatically categorizing the texts. Amharic is the second most spoken Semitic language in the World (after Arabic) and used for countrywide communication in Ethiopia. It is highly inflectional and quite dialectally...

  • DEBATING LANGUAGE POLICY IN ETHIOPIA. Zahorik, Jan; Teshome, Wondwosen // Asian & African Studies (13351257);2009, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p80 

    This paper is focused on the development of language policy in Ethiopia from the reign of Haile Selassie 1 (1930-1974) until the present day. After the Federal Constitution was introduced in 1994, Ethiopia has been divided into eleven regions along ethno-linguistic borders. The constitution gave...

  • China to Develop New Think Tank Model Different from that of the Former Soviet Union and the U.S.  // Chinascope;Jul/Aug2014, Issue 70, p18 

    The article focuses on an article published in the July 14, 2014 issue of "Study Times," on the development by China of new think tanks with Chinese characteristics. Topics covered include the difference of the model for China's new think tanks from the Soviet Union and U.S. models, the...

  • India: A country with diversity and aspiring for unity. Patel, Mahendra // Typo;Autumn2012, Vol. 49, p2 

    The article offers information about the diversity of India. It states that the country has many states whose identities are differentiated by the language the people of the region speak, noting that most of the languages have scripts of their own such as Devanagari script for Hindi and Gurmukhi...

  • Proof by Contradiction: Russia, the Russian Language and Character in B. Akunin's Novels. Snigireva, T. A.; Snigirev, A. V. // Izvestia. Ural Federal University Journal. Series 2. Humanities ;2014, Issue 2, p318 

    The article studies the peculiarities of national discourse representation in B. Akunin's creative work. The authors demonstrate what language devices the writer employed making nations face each other thus revealing their distinctive character, clichis and stereotypes thereof.

  • Mediating national language management: the discourse of citizenship categorization in Norwegian media. Lane, Pia // Language Policy;Aug2009, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p209 

    The dimension of language policing that is the focus in this article refers to the management of micro-level language use by a macro-level institution, in this context the Norwegian Language Council, co-constructed with media actors. An important aspect of language policing is the official...

  • Language Politics and National Identity in Malawi. Moyo, Themba // South African Journal of African Languages;2002, Vol. 22 Issue 4, p262 

    With the attainment of independence. African countries tended to create new language policies different from their colonial masters' where possible. In most instances the purpose was ostensibly to forge new national identities symbolised by new flags and new anthems. Above all, most of these...

  • Multilingual language policies and the continua of biliteracy: An ecological approach. Hornberger, Nancy H. // Language Policy;Apr2002, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p27 

    The one language-one nation ideology of language policy and national identity is no longer the only available one worldwide (if it ever was). Multilingual language policies, which recognize ethnic and linguistic pluralism as resources for nation-building, are increasingly in evidence. These...


Other Topics