Some Observations on Hadiyyisa Orthography

  • Shimelis Mazengia ILOS, University of Oslo


This study attempts to identify aspects of the orthography of Hadiyyisa (one of the Highland East Cushitic languages) that need to be improved and to suggest possible solutions to this. Accordingly, a short Hadiyyisa paragraph was dictated to and was written by randomly selected elementary, high school and first-year university students. The results showed that the students had a problem of distinguishing phonological quantity, that is, between simplex and geminate consonants as well as between short and long vowels. Consequently, representing geminates and long vowels as simple segments occurred frequently. Some aspects of orthographic inconvenience which require adjustments were encountered and solutions were suggested from the perspectives of regularity and economy. Yet another constraint was suggested in relation to the transferability of incompatible knowledge of Hadiyyisa to English. The performance of female students, especially at high school and university levels, was found to be lower than that of the male students and the study suggests that this needs to be further investigated.

Author Biography

Shimelis Mazengia, ILOS, University of Oslo
Researcher, Russian linguistics