Vocabulary Gawwada

by Mauro Tosco  

The vocabulary contains 1163 meaning-word pairs ("entries") corresponding to core LWT meanings from the recipient language Gawwada. The corresponding text chapter was published in the book Loanwords in the World's Languages. The language page Gawwada contains a list of all loanwords arranged by donor languoid.

Word form LWT code Meaning Core list Borrowed status Source words

Field descriptions


Notes on transcription and transliteration:
(i) Transcription of Gawwada is phonological and follows the IPA conventions, except for the following: = /tʃ’/; <š> = /ʃ/; = /j/.

(ii) Transcription of Oromo follows the standard orthography that is in use since the early 1990s (qubee). Forms from Gragg’s (1982) dictionary have been retranscribed accordingly. The main characteristics of the Oromo orthography are: = /p’/, = /t’/, = /ʧ/, = /ʧ’/, = /k’/.
No attempt has been made to make the length of final -a in nouns uniform, due to the current high variation in use.

(iii) Amharic is transliterated from the fidel syllabary according to the Orientalist tradition. In particular, ejectives are marked by a subscript dot (e.g., <ṭ> for /t’/), but /k’/ is transcribed . Moreover, the ejective affricate /ʧ’/ is transcribed here with <č’>. Also following usual practice, the palatal nasal /ɲ/ is transcribed by <ñ>. The historical pharyngeals /ħ/ and /ʕ/, generally retained in the Amharic orthography, are transliterated with <ḥ> and < ‘>, respectively (although they have turned into to /h/ and Ø, respectively). Finally, the low vowel called “first order” in Ethiopian tradition, phonetically mainly [ɐ], is transcribed <ä>, while the central vowel [ɨ] (“sixth order”) is transcribed <ə>.

(iv) For Konso, the transcription of Black & Shako’s (1973) dictionary is followed.

(v) Words in other languages (English, French, Italian) are given in their respective orthographies.


I used the following criteria to determine the analyzability of word forms.

(i) Unanalyzable:
This is chosen when no analysis is possible in Gawwada. This includes:
A. Monomorphemic words
B. Basic (underived) verbs: following common practice in Cushitic, verbs are listed under the form of the Imperative Positive Singular, which is itself identical to the bare root plus an accentual/tonal pattern. They are therefore considered here unanalyzable, although they could be glossed “X (= meaning).IMPV.S”

(ii) Semi-analyzable:
A few words are considered semi-analyzable: they appear to have a root, but also other phonological material (either another root or an apparent affix) whose nature is unknown.

(iii) Analyzable derived:
All bi- and pluri-morphemic phonological words are analyzed as derived.

(iv) Analyzable compound:
Mainly genitival phrases, in which the modifier is followed by the Locative caseform (LOC) or in the bare (Absolute) form, are analyzed as compounds.

(v) Analyzable phrasal:
This is chosen in two cases:
A. Meanings which were rendered by the informants with a verbal form preceded by a subject clitic, and, occasionally, other lexical material (such as a subject or an object) are analyzed as phrasal.
B. Sequences of nouns in which the first is followed by the Linker clitic (LINK) =pa “and”.


Amborn, Hermann, Gunter Minker & Hans-Jürgen Sasse. 1980. Das Dullay. Materialien zu einer ostkuschitischen Sprachgruppe. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.
Black, Paul & Shako Otto. 1973. Konso dictionary. Ms.
Gragg, Gene B. 1982. Oromo Dictionary. East Lansing, Michigan: African Studies Center, Michigan State University.
Griefenow-Mewis, Catherine & Tamene Bitima. 1994. Lehrbuch des Oromo. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.
Hinsene Mekuria (1998). Galmee Jechoota Afaan Oromoo-Amaaraa-Inglizii. Finfinnee (Addis Ababa).
Leslau, Wolf. 1976. Concise Amharic Dictionary. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
Les, Ton, Joseph Van de Loo & George Cotter (1992). An Oromo-English Vocabulary. Debre Zeit (Ethiopia).


The following abbreviations are used in the morpheme-by-morpheme gloss:

CAUS Causative
CONN Connector
DEF Definite
DENOM Denominal
DIR Directional
F Feminine
IMPF Imperfective
IMPV Imperative
INCH Inchoative
INSTR Instrumental
LINK Linker
LOC Locative
M Masculine
MID Middle
NEG Negative
P Plural
PART Partitive
PASS Passive
PFV Perfective
RED Reduplicated
S Singular
SEM Semelfactive
SG Singulative
SIT Situative
SPEC Specific
VN Verbal Noun
1 First person; First person Subject Clitic
2 Second person; Second person Subject Clitic
3 Third person; Third person Subject Clitic