XVI, 497 pp.
1 map, 57 tables, numerous graphs, appendix: texts and wordlists Alaaba-English and English-Alaaba
Text language: English
Alaaba belongs to the Highland East Cushitic languages of the Cushitic language family, which itself is one of the branches of the Afroasiatic language phylum. The Alaaba people number about 204,000, and live in the Southern Nations’, Nationalities’ and Peoples’ Regional State of Ethiopia. Their area is surrounded by the Oromo Region, the Hadiyya Zone, the Kambaata/Tambaro Zone, the Silti Zone and the Sidama Zone.
According to their oral traditions, the Alaaba have their origin in Arabia. After long period of migration, they finally settled in Ethiopia. They gradually exchanged their life as cattle-keeping nomads for that of settled farmers. According to the 1994 census, most of the Alaaba people (91.1%) live in rural areas and are engaged in agriculture. The main crops are maize, t’eff, wheat and hot pepper. However, cattle-breeding is still more important to them than tillage, so that the farmers also keep cattle, goats and sheep, chickens and a donkey or mule, if possible.
While there are some general publications on Highland East Cushitic languages, studies which mention Alaaba or focus on it are very rare. The present work is a descriptive grammar with the aim of giving an overview of the structure of the Alaaba language. Further, with the citation of many of the non-elicited sentences, in particular the proverbs, an attempt has been made to give an initial insight into the culture of the people whose language is at the centre of attention here.
The main chapters of this grammar deal with the Alaaba phonology, morphology and syntax, and contain many graphs which mainly illustrate phonological phenomena. Some texts with traditional contents, as well as English-Alaaba and Alaaba-English word lists complete this work.
In our programme, further descriptions of Cushitic languages and a collection of Alaaba proverbs with glossings and translations are available:
Gertrud Schneider-Blum: Proverbs Finish the Problems – máakut(i) t’awá shuultáa, ISBN 978-3-89645-284-9