The Argobba of Ethiopia are not the Language they Speak

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Kifleyesus, Abbebe (2012)
  • Publisher: Universität Hamburg, Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies
  • Journal: Aethiopica (issn: 2194-4024, eissn: 1430-1938)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.15460/aethiopica.9.1.238
  • Subject: Ethiopian Studies | Argobba; Amharic; Oromo; Säwa; Wällo; Anthropology; Linguistics; | ddc:300 | ddc:290 | ddc:320 | ddc:390 | ddc:490

The Argobba of southeastern Wällo and northeastern Šäwa live amongst and speak the languages of the Amhara and the Oromo with great ease as if they are members of these ethnic groups. For them Amharic and Afaan Oromoo are the languages of administration and market transaction and therefore important for Argobba survival in a region domi-nated by these two ethno-linguistic groups. Yet the Argobba I met in these lands identified themselves as Argobba, and they were known as such, despite the fact that several of them had Amharic or Afaan Oromoo as their first language. The central claim of this article is therefore that the Argobba of this region define themselves as Argobba based on their traditions, customs, beliefs, values, and total cultural practices and not on the basis of who can or cannot speak the Argobba language.