Gwama

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A language of Ethiopia

Alternate Names
Afan Mao, Amam, Gogwama, Goma, Guwama, Kewama, Kuro, Kuwama, Kwama, Kwoma, Nokanoka, North Koma, Qewama, Takwama
Autonym
Gwama, Ttwa Gwama
Population

15,000 (Küspert 2015). Ethnic population: 20,000 (Küspert 2015).

Location

Benishangul-Gumuz region: Mao Komo special woreda; Oromia region: West Wollega zone, Begi district; some villages near South Sudan border. Benishangul-Gumuz region (Lowland dialect); Oromia region: Begi and Tongo (Highland dialect).

Language Status

5 (Developing).

Dialects

Highland Gwama (T’wa Sit Shwala), Lowland Gwama. Use of Highland Gwama is decreasing (Küspert 2015).

Typology

SVO; head-initial noun phrase; prepositions; first person inclusive and exclusive distinction; 2 genders; plural only distinguished for animate; verbal morphology distinguishes deictic direction, aspect, person, number and gender for subject, object and indirect object, third (neuter) gender only in non-subject affixes; no morphological verb derivations; stem reduplication to prevent occurrence of inflected verb stem in clause final position; 7 vowels with ATR distinction in the high vowels, no phonemic length; tonal (3 tone levels).

Language Use

Vigorous. Some language shift toward Oromo [gaz] in Oromia region and Tongo. All ages. All also use West Central Oromo [gaz], as the dominant language in the area (Küspert 2015). Some also use Amharic [amh], especially younger generation. A few also use Standard Arabic [arb], in limited domains. Also use Berta [wti]. Used as L2 by Ganza [gza], Komo [xom].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 12%. Non-formal literacy classes. Pilot classes in school since 2017 with the aim to develop mother tongue as subject up to at least grade 6. Growing collection of shell books, Big Books and staged/levelled readers (49 titles available end of 2017). Radio. Videos. Dictionary.
Writing

Latin script [Latn], used since 2013.

Other Comments

Muslim, traditional religion.

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