Chapter in:Grammatical and Sociolinguistic Aspects of Ethiopian Languages
Edited by Derib Ado, Almaz Wasse Gelagay and Janne Bondi Johannessen †
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society 48] 2021
Ethnolinguistic perception and identity in Gurage
This study was conducted with the objectives of exploring the perceptions and attitudes of speakers towards language use and ethnolinguistic identity within the complex sociopolitical and linguistic milieu of the Gurage people in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) of Ethiopia. In so doing, five out of twelve groups with relatively different backgrounds were systematically selected for the study. Data was collected concurrently via questionnaires and semi-structured in-depth interviews involving a total of 386 participants. Respondents were asked to express their perceptions of the associations of language and ethnicity, and feelings about belongingness to the Gurage identity. The concurrent research design was informed by pragmatism as a theoretical framework, so findings of the mixed methods approach were integrated at the end for comparative descriptive analyses. The empirical data reveal that there is an observably different pattern of perceived association of language and ethnicity and varying senses of belongingness to the common Gurage identity across sampled groups.
Keywords: Gurage groups, ethnolinguistic perceptions, ethnic identity and belongingness
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