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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LOU Kahssay, TCDSB

While the volume of contemporary Ethiopic literature has been on the rise for some time now, it seems to be close to its peak before it starts to decline due to the increasing reliance of modern Ethiopian society on English for all kinds of needs (education, communication, governance, entertainment). The future of editing Ethiopian written and oral texts must address a litany of problems gripping contemporary Ethiopic literature, particularly Amharic literature, to survive and thrive in the interconnected and globalized 21st century world. These include excessive use of loanwords; unclear or erroneous messages; unintended but widespread use of slang and informal expressions in formal settings; inconsistency in the application of the polite/formal form (i.e. ኣንተታ vs. ኣንቱታ) especially in the context of unwitting sexism; confusing presumption for politeness; failure to apply correct sentence structure for yes-no type questions; failure to apply quotation marks where required and other poor writing habits; unnecessary repetition of grammatical elements, such as pronouns and verbs; redundant use of the Amharic conjunctions እና and ም in the same clause; use of wrong adjectives for nationality; confusion of grammatical tenses (conflict in the sequence of events and the tenses used to express them); confusion of grammatical voices (problems in using what must be referred to, in Ethiopic grammar, as ‘passive-intransitive verbs’ and ‘active-intransitive verbs’); subject-person-voice disagreement; wrong application of what must be referred to as Ethiopic ‘phrasal intransitive verbs’; ‘ghost’ subjects and unwarranted direct objects; wrong use of causative verbs, the accusative particle and nouns as verbs; confusion and inconsistency in grammatical gender assignment; nonuse or improper use of plural forms of words; and redundancy due to ‘ghost’ pronouns. It is in this backdrop that the standardization of editing Ethiopic literature must be considered.