Public Lecture on Sidamu Afoo

HU hosts a Public Lecture on Standardization of Sidamu Afoo.

Institute of Sidama Studies (IOSS) at Hawassa University held a public lecture entitled "Towards the Standardization of Sidaamu Afoo Orthography" by Dr. Anbessa Teferra, a senior linguistics scholar from Tel Aviv University, Israel, on April 8, 2024.

Dr. Emebet Bekele, Director General of Public and International Relations at HU welcomed the guest speaker and participant where she remarked that such scholarly discussions are quite important to inform policy makers and share scholarly experiences among university community.

Dr. Seyoum Yunkura, Director of the Institute of Sidama Studies at HU, said in his opening speech that the Institute is working on different research projects on indigenous knowledge including the establishment of a cultural museum and library to document and preserve linguistic and cultural artifacts of the Sidama people. He also said that IoSS is engaged in a project on mono-lingual dictionary that will support the standardization of Sidaamu Afoo as part of promotion of the language. Dr seyoum briefly presented Dr. Anbessa's biography indicating that he graduated from Addis Ababa University in linguistics with BA and MA in 1984 and 1987, respectively. Dr. Anbessa then moved to Israel in 1990 where he completed his PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and served as an external lecturer for 12 years and later joined Tel Aviv University in 2009.

Dr Anbessa Teferra, a tenured senior academic in the Department of Hebrew Language & Semitic Linguistics at Tel Aviv University, underscored in his lecture that there needs to be improvements made to the orthography of Sidamu Afoo in use to standardize and develop it further. He also presented the current orthography with all its merits and shortcpmings in comparison to the use of ethiopic scripts with minor modifications. His presentation delved into the historical development of the language, the misconceptions and challenges surrounding the use of Ethiopic script for different Ethiopian languages including Sidamu Afoo, and suggested ways forward.

Many participants forwarded questions, comments and suggestions following the presentation where more than two hundred students of Sidamu Afoo language and literature, academic staff and linguists attended the session.

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