AELC launches a research project in Kaffa zone

The Academy of Ethiopian Languages and Cultures (AELC) of the AAU organized a project launching program at Bonga, the capital of Kaffa Zone, on May 5, 2017.

The main purpose of the program was to introduce the research project to the wider public and create rapport with the communities under study.

Higher officials of the Kaffa Administrative Zone, Academic staff of the Bonga Teachers’ College and Bonga University, representatives of the three linguistic communities: Kafecho, Chara and Nayi, invited guests from different governmental sectors of the zone and the research team of AELC were all part of the event.

In his opening remarks, the Administrator of Kaffa Zone, Asrat Mekuria reminded participants of the mismatching policies of past Ethiopian governments with the realty in the country. He stated that the policies of the past regimes did not properly address the linguistic, cultural and social rights of the nations and nationalities of the country.


His Excellency Mr. Asrat Mekuria addressing opening remarks

Following the FDRE constitution, however, he went on to explain that nations and nationalities got the right to cultivate and develop their own languages and cultures. He thanked the Academy of Ethiopian Languages and Cultures, one of the research institutes of Addis Ababa University, for its project on the languages and cultures in Kaffa Zone. The administrator also expresses the zonal administration’s support to the research team and the successful accomplishment of the project.

Following the opening speech, a series of paper presentations were delivered by the research team. The Principal Investigator (PI) of the project and director of the academy, Mulugeta Seyoum (Ph.D.), was one of the paper presenters. He highlighted the proposal for the project to be conducted in the coming three years. In the presentation, he stated that the project consists of three sub-themes: grammatical descriptions, dictionary compilation works, and socio-cultural description and documentation of Kafi Noonoo, Chara and Nayi languages and linguistic communities. He expresses his hopes that the outcome of the project will help students, teachers, researchers and the general public on the three linguistic groups. He also appreciated the assistance the team has been getting from the Kaffa administrative zone and the Kafa zonal office of Culture, Tourism and Government Communication.


Dr. Mulugeta Seyoum introducing the thematic project on languages in Kafa zone

Yohannes Adigeh (Ph.D.), the team leader of grammatical descriptions, showed the sample phonological analyses of the three languages: Kafi Noonoo, Chara and Nayi. The phonemic inventories, some phonological processes and syllable structures of the languages under study were also presented.

Abebe Keno, leader of the lexicography subtheme, presented how the compilation of the three dictionaries is being done by his team. He further discussed the shortcomings of the dictionaries attempted so far in Kafi Noonoo and the different method the new project employs to approach the issue.

Firehiwot Bayu (Ph.D.), member of the cultural studies subtheme, gave some sample analyses of the cultural description and documentation processes being done by the team. She mentioned the basic folkloric fields and discussed some major cultural values and experiences which are unique to the research area and are supposed to be documented in this project.

The participants of the workshop, for their part, raised some questions and gave constructive comments and suggestions. The need for community involvement, expertise assistance and other stakeholder commitment were repeatedly mentioned.

In his closing speech, Head of the educational bureau of the Kaffa zone and member of the zonal administrative council, Asres Adaro emphasised the importance of the project and asked stakeholders and partners in the Kaffa administrative zone to contribute their part for the successful accomplishment of the project.