Indian writes Ethiopian language primers for foreigners

Addis Ababa, Nov 4 (IANS) An Indian scholar in Ethiopia has so far published over a dozen books specially designed for foreigners to learn Ethiopia's languages, particularly Amharic.

Nov 4 2013, 12:00am CST | by IANS

Addis Ababa, Nov 4 — An Indian scholar in Ethiopia has so far published over a dozen books specially designed for foreigners to learn Ethiopia's languages, particularly Amharic.

His story reads like a journey in reverse to the one made centuries earlier by the Siddis - Indians of East African descent brought to India mostly as slaves, who live mostly in Gujarat and have embraced the local language and culture.

Apart from 'Amharic for Foreigners', K. Sekhar from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, who teaches business management at Mizan Tepi University in southwestern Ethiopia, has also written language primers in Tigrigna, Oromifa, Nuer, Kafi Noono and Hadiya. The last two are the first to be written by an expatriate.

"Languages have a trait of similarity at some point and finding out these traits is the way to understanding them," Sekhar, a self-thought linguist and lexicographer, told IANS in an interview.

"The similarities I feel between the two countries (Ethiopia and India) are also important and made things easier for me", he said.

The first expressions Sekhar heard in Ethiopia, like "selam new" (are you at peace), and "dehna" (I am fine), were easy for him to memorize, he said. Within eight months he was able to communicate in Amharic with the help of his colleagues.

"It is then I wondered if there were other books. Then I started looking at how the books were written and I thought I could do something better, which could be easier to be understood by many foreigners who face difficulties", Sekhar said.

He has devised an innovative teaching method whereby each letter is separated by a box and each syllable has been separated, to help pronounce easily and sound as close to native speakers.

"It is difficult to read the whole word for foreigners so the structure is aimed at giving clarity for the people to get the idea", Sekhar said, adding "otherwise if I simply take the idea of the sentences there is no base at all or systematic approach to make it easy to understand".

In addition to the Amharic book, he has also written a Hindi primer for non-Hindi speakers in the English and Amharic versions.

"At first I did not believe when I was told that there is such a book but then when I saw it at a bookstore it was like a dream come true for I have always wanted to learn Hindi", said 25-year old Mohammed Bajaro, a tourist guide who is obsessed with Hindi because of the movies he has watched since childhood.

According to Ajay Kumar, chairman of the Vedika-Ethiopian Telugu Association, Sekhar's books are not just good reference for conversations on movies or with tourists but also of help to business visitors to Ethiopia.

"We are grateful for the fact that he has promoted our national language in a country where the people are so fond of Indian culture and traditions," Ajay Kumar told IANS.

"His books would also be preferable aids for Indian investors and the community to communicate with the locals", he added.

(Hadra Ahmed can be reached at hadraahmed@gmail.com)

IANS

Source: IANS

 
 
 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Harrison Ford returns in Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner Sequel
Harrison Ford returns to Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner Sequel
The director who directed magnificent movies like Prisoners and Enemy will be directing the new Blade Runner sequel movie and Harrison Ford will be returning for the sequel to reprise his role as Rick Deckard.
 
 
Lupita Nyong'o Oscars Pearl Dress worth $150000 is stolen
Lupita Nyong'o Oscars Pearl Dress worth $150000 is stolen
Lupita Nyong'o Custom made Calvin Klein dress made up of 6000 pearls she wore on the Academy awards red carpet was stolen yesterday from her hotel room in West Hollywood.
 
 
Margot Robbie slapped Leonardo DiCaprio  to land ‘Wolf of Wall Street’
Margot Robbie slapped Leonardo DiCaprio to land ‘Wolf of Wall Street’
The April 2015 issue of the magazine Harper’s Bazaar UK will be featuring Margot Robbie on the front cover with an interview and exclusive feature.
 
 
Gigi Hadid Instagram Hottest Photos
Gigi Hadid Instagram Hottest Photos
Gigi Hadid appears in the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Top 50 Models - Top Sexiest Models