Home > Comment > The creeping corruption of Amharic

The creeping corruption of Amharic

A veteran journalist, Yakob W/Mariam says that we are murdering our official language.He says aping others does not get us anywhere and he sees  everything wrong in officials in particular interspersing Amharic with so many English words as a sign of “erudition” when they are talking on radio or TV.

Read the whole article here.

Categories: Comment
  1. Dr. Ethiopia
    January 30, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    All languages evolve over time. That’s something we can do nothing about. I can understand how and that is, but also it is inevitable part of a country and its language.


  2. January 31, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Very interesting article!
    I stumbled into your blog while googling for some Ethiopian favorite drink recipe (Tella)
    Very informative blog.
    Good job.


  3. Addis
    February 2, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks, you spoke my mind so eloquently. I observed this phenomenon long ago, didn’t know how to put it in words. I have also observed a lot on the street of Addis how names of “Buna Bet” or “Migibe Bet” always reads as café, even when they are written in Amharic, and all the many for foreign names for such establishments. It is a shame when we subject ourselves to a voluntary colonialism. It is even more of a disgrace when our own political leaders are exhibiting the practice on mass media.

    Dr. Ethiopia I disagree with your comment of “all languages evolve or time” I don’t consider this kind of practice as language evolvement, when the Amharic language itself not growing, but changing into what it is not.

  4. February 15, 2008 at 8:23 am

    I’m an Ethiopian language and literature student at AAU. So i’ve had my share of trials with English amlaki “ager wedad” Ethiopians (as i privately refer to them). Stop for a few minutes by the flight of stairs inside ILS building and you’d start wondering if there aren’t secret cameras documenting and informing some officials hidden somewhere that English, the official language of the school (it seems), isn’t being put to use. Ethiopians from every corner of the country would pass by you making concious efforts to avoid speaking amharic, and not for the sake of improving their english. No, sir! Rather, to show you (a mere stranger) that they can and perhaps better than you. Walking into Kennedy Library with an amharic text book or a note upon which them geez alphabets are inscribed puts a sneering smile on the face of anyone near you. The saddest thing may not be the knowledge that these are boys and girls who use phrases like “assistance accountant”, “she’s an interested person” and/or “i’m interesting in it” to express themselves, and end their greetings with “your lovely brother”. No, the sad truth is if you’ve asked them to speak the language they [obiviously] despise, they won’t come up with more refined expressions with it than their sad and broken english. Hearing words like “endemta” (for Aandimta), “sibina” (se’ebena) from news people is a fact that drives one of our Instructors to the walls. I find them more amusing than annoying. Except for that fateful word “malet..”. And ofcourse “bene amelekaket”!! What’s the deal with that anyway? I mean, you ask a guy if he thinks a red tie goes with a yellow suit and he’d start going all “official” on you. He’d clear his throat, put himself in an imaginary “interview giver” position and start going all “bene amalekaket malet..”. If you, like me, have counted all the “malet”s you hear in a sentence on tv & radio, you’d start wondering if six million Solomon Shumye’s can fix the problem.

    Finally, please say something on the quality and value of songs we hear on Addis Zema (etcetra etcetra). I’ve never been big on any of those “DJ” minanimn “qinibirs” but from the little I heard, I doubt they are very constructive. “Smack that” and “whine for me”??. I don’t know, man! They are scary!

  5. mimi
    February 19, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Great article. And a very sad thing indeed. I observed the same shameful thing upon my visit home after 14 years. The worst was the big sign that read ”Sunshine Building” written in Geez ” Sa-ne-shi-ye-ne Bi-le-di-ne-ge”. What happened with ” Birhan/Tsehay Hinsta” or even ” Sunshine Hintsa” !!! This copy cat thing or self hate has gone a bit too far.

    Very well put abesheet.

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