Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 130

Full Length Research Paper

Gender bias ideology as manifested in the grammar of Afan Oromo

Amanuel Raga1* and Hirut Woldemariam2
  1College of Social Sciences and Law, Jimma University, P. O. Box 5219, Jimma, Ethiopia. 2Department of Linguistics, Institute of Language Studies, Addis Ababa University, P. O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 July 2011
  •  Published: 31 October 2011



The purpose of this research was to investigate and explain how the grammatical structure of Afan Oromo reveals social gender bias ideology. Based on quantitative and qualitative data collected from primary and secondary sources of the Macha dialect, the grammatical structure of Afan Oromo was analyzed in the light of the socio-cultural lives of the language community. The theoretical base of this study was the dominance theory. As this study reveals the grammar of Afan Oromo distinguishes masculine and feminine gender systems. Nouns are assigned to one of the two genders based on semantic attributes and pragmatic knowledge. This linguistic principle is metaphorical conceptualization emanating from the social gender bias ideology of the society. In addition, the morphological, the syntactic, and the semantic structures of the language also reflect the social gender bias practices. In general, the grammatical conventions of Afan Oromo mirror the socio-cultural practices of the society: males and females are placed on superior and subordinate positions respectively.


Key words: Afan Oromo, grammatical gender, language conventions, gender bias, male dominance, socio-cultural practices.