Markos Mathewos Alaro (MA in TEFL)
Lecturer at Wolaita Sodo University, Ethiopia
Wolaita Sodo University
P.O.Box 138, Sodo Ethiopia
The objective of this study was to investigate factors that affect the standardization of Wolaita language in Wolaita Zone, SNNPR Ethiopia. The subjects of the study were sixteen purposely selected elders from Humbo wereda and Sodo zuriya wereda, two weredas culture, trousim and government communication and education experts as well as one wereda civil service experts. In addition, Wolaita Sodo university scholars, Wolaita zone Culture, tourism and government communication affairs office experts and Wolaita zone education office experts were involved. The data were collected by using two instruments: focus group discussion from elders and interview from two wereda office experts and all zone level offices experts. Qualitative data analysis method was employed to obtain results. Thus, the findings of the study confirmed that there were many factors that affected the standardization of Wolaita language. The main factors were past political conditions, poor attitude of the society, alphabetic shifts, dialectic variations and unnecessary coinage of words and lack of sufficient written manuscripts and because of these Wolaita language was not standardized. Exceeding the sovereignty of the people, developing the identity, culture and language of the indeginous people and establishing common understanding and rapport among the people were found to be some of the importances of standardizing Wolaita language beyond factors. Establishing awareness creation forum with the people, transmitting the messages to the audiences using Fana radio air time, publishing diffirent brochures and strengthening Wolaita language as a medium of instruction in diffirent school levels and working consistently to standardize and develop Wolaita language were some of the possible ways of standardizing Wolaita language. Thus, it was recommended that the stake holders like Wolaita zone culture, tourism and government communication offices and the entire society should work consistently and in collaboration to standardize Wolaita language. Wolaita zone government should establish forums with the societies and other stakeholders and then discuss around tables with them in how to standardize Wolaita language. Furthermore, it is better establishing consistent language symposium forum to share various useful experiences about the standardization of Wolaita language.
Key Words: Alphabet, Attitude, Dialect, Indigenous, Manuscript, Standardization