Afan Oromo

a Guide to Speaking the Language of Oromo People in Ethiopia


arfan-oromoBy Abebe Bulto, Edited by Andrew Tadross (Endodo, Tigray & Mekelle, Tigray 2011–13)
May 2016
192 pages
$21.00 (paperback)

Reviewed by Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974-76)


AFAN OROMO: A Guide to Speaking the Language of Oromo People in Ethiopia rounds out guides to three of the major language groups in Ethiopia, two of which were co-authored by editor Andrew Tadross, The Essential Guide to Amharic: the National Language of Ethiopia and The Essential Guide to Tigrinya: The Language of Eritrea and Northern Ethiopia.

This guide follows a similar outline as the previous two guides, which serve the readers well. The primary difference is that unlike either Amharic or Tigrinya, the Afan Oromo does not use the Fidel (script), but rather an alphabet called Qubee that is visually comparable to the Latin alphabet with variations in pronunciation. A pronunciation guide provides both phonetic equivalent and examples, including the sounds of double vowels, common in Afan Oromo.

The grammar section is quite lengthy. Verbs are conjugated for both past and present tense. Future tense is the present tense modified by adding a temporal modifier such as “tomorrow” or “next week.”  Pronouns, pluralization, and negatives are more than adequately covered.

Following the basic grammar, the reader is introduced to common phrases such as greetings and displays of emotions, and also to basic words such as colors, numbers, the calendar, units of time, and days of the week. The remainder of the guide introduces vocabulary by categories such as parts of the body, medical terms, occupations, transportation, and other areas that would be important in day-to-day conversation.

The author and editor note that like most languages, there are regional differences in regard to vocabulary. Afan Oromo also has many words in common with Amharic and English, especially when it comes to new technologies.

The charts are clear and there are simple illustrations throughout.

At this date, there is not a Kindle edition available, but since both the Amharic and Tigrinya versions are available in the Kindle format, it is likely that a Kindle version will become available if demand warrants.

The guide is bound well, typical of print-on-demand titles, and should hold up as one travels around the Afan Oromo-speaking region. Whether the traveler is in the region for a week or two years, the guide will serve as a worthwhile investment and a very good introduction to Afan Oromo.

Click on the book cover, the format of the book you desire or the bold book title to order Afan Oromo from Amazon, and Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance.

End of Issue 24 — October 2016

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