Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 131

Full Length Research Paper

Linguistic sexism as religious offense among the Oromo

Amanuel Raga
  • Amanuel Raga
  • College of Social Sciences and Law, Jimma University, P. O. Box 5219, Jimma, Ethiopia.
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Hirut Woldemariam
  • Hirut Woldemariam
  • Department of Linguistics, Institute of Language Studies, Addis Ababa University, P. O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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  •  Received: 03 June 2013
  •  Published: 30 April 2014


Linguistic sexism is an act of patronizing one sex in a discourteous way, usually female. Studies show that human languages exhibit some form of linguistic sexism. However, the current discourses about its source and its sociopolitical purposes lack universality. To indicate this gap, as a case in point, this paper tried to unravel the cultural experiences of the Oromo regarding the matter which contradicted with the contemporary discourses of linguistic sexism. The data for this study were collected through interview, discussion, and exploration of secondary sources. As unraveled by this study, traditionally the Oromo women were sacred. They were considered as the vital part of the society without whose participation the whole system of human existence collapsed. So, sexual insults against them were considered as offenses against Waaqa, ‘Oromo deity’. Consequently, as part of their religious duties they had the mandate to carry out legal actions against men who involved in these offences. This practices question the universality of the contemporary theories of linguistic sexism. Thus, acknowledging and documenting these cultural experiences of the Oromo would become vital for the current global struggle for gender equality.
Keywords: Sexist language, women’s rights, siiqqee, feminism, traditional Oromo.