16 June 2016

Ethiopia: Joint Effort to Utilize Geez Language

Recently, the Third National Forum on Geez language was held at Oromia State, Jimma Town for two days with a theme 'Geez Language Treasure for National Development.' As per the theme, the forum eyed at further coordinated works in rescuing the language from extinction. The forum was held in away to facilitate efforts to utilize the language's unexploited and still undiscovered important virtues to national development and prosperity.

We, as media people, also happened to be on the forum to report proceedings and resolutions passed regarding reviving back the language. The forum had brought together many participants from universities, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Oromia Culture and Tourism Bureau and other stakeholders. Passing the corridor the honorable invited guests took their respective seats in the hall. With warm Ethiopian hospitality, participants of the forum welcomed them. Everyone seemed enthused to play his/her part to the revival of Geez language,which seems on its sickbed.

Let me relate to you the full activities that were going on there.

In his welcoming speech of the forum, Jimma University President Professor Fikirie Lemmiessa welcomed participants to the lovely town Jimma.

Professor Fikirie noted that the university trains students specializing in Amharic, Orommiffa and Englishis languages. Holding such types of forums also show the university's focus on developing the community's cultural, traditional and other historical values. "Geez is the longest serving language, specially in churches and palaces in the past it had heaps of archived and documented heritages. It is the manifestation of our ancient civilization hoard. Even if currently no one uses this language as a mother tongue, it is necessary to develop preconditions to studying it."

"If we are well familiar with Geez language and be able to communicate with it as our mother tongue our present socio-economic situation might not be as it is. Geez is a language replete with a spectrum of information that is still hidden and oracular to everyone. Researchers, from here and abroad, have been striving to find more from Geez manuscripts. But due to inability to properly understand the language easily and for want of experienced translators of the language hinder, the nation as well as citizens could not derive the required benefit from it. The language helps unlock ancient astronomical, philosophical, governance, mathematical, traditional pharmaceuticals as well as much more hidden skills of life. Taking into account the need to dig deep in this language to unearth hidden facts foreigners are doing more. Universities abroad are opening Geez departments and avail wide research opportunities on Geez language. And num research to dig out what is kept behind the language."

The aforementioned statement was directly taken from the speech of Dr. Aba Daniel Assefa during his research presentation at the Third National Geez Forum held at Jimma Town. He emphasized the need for a concerted move to join hands to rescue the language from being relegated to the limbo of history. "It is due doing arduous rescuing measures so that the nation fully benefit from it. After its extinction trying to unlock the mystery hidden in it will be tantamount to searching for cows' dung where herds were not around."

Researchers had presented research papers revolving around its past historical roles in the country's socio-economic, political, cultural as well as traditional values. The language has age-old history. The language entails important folktales and information highly beneficial to the current generation. For want of knowledge criticizing the language carelessly as nothing is to be find from it is wrong. But coming up with scholarly researches as well as documented affirmation paves way to convene and brainstorm to restore Geez.

Presenting a research about the present education policy on the forum, Addis Ababa University Lecturer Yikunoamlak Mezigebu indicated that the present generation is not utilizing the opportunity to study Geez. It needs let doors ajar to study the language deeply and widely. "The language has contributed more for the introduction of several Amharic philosophical words. Amharic language borrows much more words from Geeze as languages borrow words from each other. Instead of borrowing English words from abroad, Ethiopians could do better if they borrow words from own local languages that could lend luster to the Amharic expressions. For example technological words might have their equivalent meaning in Geez, if learn to dig deep. Thus being able to communicate with Geez language still requires further work on producing a generation that gives priority to local languages."

Currently the nation is working on reviving the language through holding annual forums to rise awareness and attention to the need to study the language, do research on it and discover and exploit the language more.

On the forum it was noted that Geez education is offered at Saint Sellassie spiritual College as a field of specialization while other higher education institutions offer Geez as a simple course.

Geez had laid the foundation for the development of the present modern education in the country. It has also a great contribution to the development of the current Ethiopian official language_Amharic evolution. A lot is required to maintain the language in shape. Once up on a time the nation was using the language as an official language. It served in enacting laws and regulations and transmitting edicts to the citizens as well in putting recording things on parchments.

Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency Literature's' Expert Aba Bisrateab Getachew said that while convening to discuss on Geez scholars and citizens should have the mentality that the language is the country's heritages. Cognizant of this they have to discharge their responsibilities. "In the past, our forefathers have done more to bequeath it to us. Following suit we are expected to pass it to the next generation. Plenty fascinating and documented information are ubiquitous. They are waiting for us to unlock their mystery and utilize them properly."

Geez language dwells and embraces enormous ancient astronomical, philosophical, laws and regulations, as well as different important principles that could be adopted and applied in national development endavours.

To sum up, Anyone who wants to conduct studies and want back up Geez language survival should be accorded support and provided with necessary inputs. Locking doors to bar its accessibility is equivalent to quickening the language's extinction or throwing it inside a trash can. Availing the necessary inputs to anybody requiring studying the language have to enjoy a green light and recognition with due procedural care. From fear of publicizing some ancient Ethiopian manuscripts and religious book's secrets access to such documents is not that easy to everyone. The government's and stakeholders role towards reviving the language is commendable. But still the task requires to work effectively by supporting scholars to write, disseminate and translate Geez to revive better.

Holding Geez forum annually is demonstrating promising progress in attracting researchers, students and stakeholders to pursue studies and place focus on the language. Still, much more societal and government initiative and participation are necessary to enhance the nation's access and benefit from its hidden tangible and intangible wealth.

On different stages and events researchers from different universities are insisting to be swift in retrieving Geez language and enhance the nation to benefit from its exclusive property. Let us join hands and cooperate in promoting the ancient Ethiopian mysterious language.


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