The Past and Present Orthographies of Sidaama (Sidaamu Afoo)

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This paper deals with the past and present orthographies of Sidaama, a Highland East Cushitic (henceforth HEC) language spoken in south-central Ethiopia. The first orthography of Sidaama was an Ethiopic-based one and was used before 1993. This orthography was initially used for liturgical purposes by various missionaries and in particular by Catholic mission churches. A revised version of this orthography was used also after 1979 for the purpose of mass literacy campaigns. The current orthography is a Latin-based one that was adopted for the language since 1993. The new orthography overcame the problem of representing geminates and long vowels. On the other hand, it was also fraught with its own drawbacks such as inaccurate representation of the glottal stop, the glottalic segments, the problem of allophony, unnecessary insertion of i after y, selection of problematic graphemes for some phonemes, etc. In this paper, some amendments are proposed to rectify these recurrent problems of the current orthography.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-56
Number of pages22
JournalEthiopian Journal of Languages and Literature
StatePublished - 2019


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