The purpose of this study is to investigate the major factors that facilitated indigenous language shift in Siltie (a Semitic language; primarily spoken in south-western Ethiopia), their effects on Siltie’s overall identity and the future directions to reverse the situation (revitalize the language). The subjects used for the current study were 10 elders for an interview selected by purposive sampling and 500 people selected by availability sampling from five selected districts or woredas of Siltie Zone for filling questionnaire and 50 of them selected purposively for focused group discussion (FGD; a sample of selected informants in group for collecting data in major themes of the study). The descriptive survey research design was used to conduct this study by using both quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis. The result indicated that there were various factors that facilitated the indigenous language shift in Siltie: political, social, economic and attitudinal ones that highly threatened the overall identities (history, culture, heritage and indigenous wisdom) of Siltie people. Based on these findings, therefore, different projects of revitalization are recommended for the revitalization of Siltie language: awareness training on the use of Siltie language, development of a (creative) writing culture, establishment of school-based language revitalization project, planning of family-based language revitalization project and establishment of series, deep and multifaceted training and research projects that involve linguists and language experts.
Key words: Heritage language, language shift, Siltie identity, language revitalization.
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