International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 328

Full Length Research Paper

Revisiting Gamo: Linguists’ classification versus self identification of the community

Hirut Woldemariam    
Department of Linguistics, Institute of Language Studies, Addis Ababa University, P. O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 17 September 2013
  •  Published: 31 December 2013


This study attempts to contribute to our knowledge about Gamo, a member of the North Ometo subgroup, which is one of the four subgroups that constitute the Ometo group of the Omotic language family (Fleming, 1976; Bender, 2000). This paper characterizes some of the issues in the research of language and identity. It will attempt to employ the complementary perspectives of sameness and difference between Gamo, its sisters in the North Ometo sub-branch and its dialects. North Ometo comprises of several related languages and dialects of which Gamo is one. The exact relationship amongst the Ometo languages is not well known. Not equally well known is the relationship Gamo has with its sisters and daughters. The study tries to address issues concerning with misrepresentation of the Gamo language by the existing classification in one hand and what the self perception of the Gamo community likes on the other hand. This study aimed at examining linguistic facts and the Gamo speakers’ own understandings of their identities. To this end, the study has used linguistic, anthropological and sociolinguists attempt to characterize membership of Gamo based on linguistic facts and members’ self ethno-linguistic identification .
Key words: Gamo, North Ometo, Wolaitta, Omotic languages, identity, mutual intelligibility.