Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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MEQUANINT Wanna, Hawassa University, Ethiopia

Linguistic variations that are evident within Gamo language seem very complex, yet these incidents have not been given due attention by linguists except a few works by Hirut (2004, 2013a), and Wondimu (2010). As a result, the existence of language variations within Gamotstso has created a fertile land for various problems and conflicts which have been observed in some places of the region. Furthermore, no document is available that reveals the degree of closeness or divergence of each dialect of Gamotstso against the other. Therefore, the main purpose of this research was to determine to what extent a dialect of Gamotstso is closer to or distant from one another. Hence, the present study has addressed mutual intelligibility among eight dialects of Gamotstso: Doko, Dita, Dorze, Ochollo, C'hencha, K'uc'ha, Boreda and Ganta. In order to accomplish this, the study employed both functional and opinion testing using research instruments such as RTT, Levenshtein Distance, core vocabulary comparison, and interview. The study found that mutual intelligibility does really exist among seven of the dialects of Gamotstso, with the exception of Ganta dialect. Moreover, the current study discovered that Ganta is a divergent speech variety of Gamotstso. In addition to this, the study identified that one-way intelligibility (asymmetrical intelligibility) prevailed between Ganta and the rest of the dialects employed in the present research. It was also indicated that Gamo people in general do have favorable attitude towards their own dialect and to other dialects of Gamotstso.