Wolaytta Bible

Wolaytta Bible

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Wolaytta Bible

Wolaytta is a North Omotic language of the Ometo group spoken in the Wolayita Zone and some other parts of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region of Ethiopia. It is the native language of the Welayta people. The estimates of the population vary greatly because it is not agreed where the boundaries of the language are. There are conflicting claims about how widely Wolaytta is spoken. The Ethnologue identifies one smaller dialect region: Zala. Some hold that Melo, Oyda, and Gamo-Gofa-Dawro are also dialects, but most authorities, including Ethnologue and ISO 639-3 now list these as separate languages. The different communities of speakers also recognize them as separate languages. A variety called Laha is said to be 'close' to Wolaytta in Hayward (1990) but listed as a distinct language by Blench; however, it is not included in Ethnologue. Wolaytta has existed in written form since the 1940s, when the Sudan Interior Mission first devised a system for writing it. The writing system was later revised by a team led by Dr. Bruce Adams. They finished the New Testament in 1981 and the entire Bible in 2002. It was one of the first languages the Derg selected for their literacy campaign (1979–1991), before any other southern languages. Welaytta pride in their written language led to a fiercely hostile response in 1998 when the Ethiopian government distributed textbooks written in Wegagoda – an artificial language based on amalgamating Wolaytta with several closely related languages. As a result the textbooks in Wegagoda were withdrawn and teachers returned to ones in Wolaytta.In speaking their language, the Wolaytta people use many proverbs. A large collection of them, in Ethiopian script, was published in 1987 (Ethiopian calendar) by the Academy of Ethiopian Languages. Fikre Alemayehu's 2012 MA thesis from Addis Ababa University provides an analysis of Wolaytta proverbs and their functions.