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Title: A Brief Grammar of the Majang Language
Authors: Joswig, Andreas
Keywords: Majang - Grammar
Nilo-Saharan Languages
African Languages
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: SIL Ethiopia
Abstract: The Majang language is spoken by the Majang people (plural Majangeer, also called Mezhenger by other Ethiopians, or in very old literature Messengo) in three administrative Regions of Ethiopia: Gambella, Oromia and Southern Nations. In Gambella Region it is spoken in Majang Zone in Mangeshi and Godare Weredas. Also it is spoken in Gambella Zuria Wereda, in Abobo Wereda and in Dima Wereda. In Oromia Region Majang is spoken in Illubabor and Dembidolo Zones. In Southern Nations Region Majang is spoken in Yeki and Sheko Weredas of Sheka Zone, and in Guraferda Wereda of Bench Maji Zone. The number of speakers is approximately 33,000 according to the ethnic population listed in the 2007 census. The Majang people are agriculturalists, practicing shifting cultivation in the highland forests of south-west Ethiopia. They also specialize in honey production. Because of their economy, they usually settle in forested areas and are not found in open places. This may also be the reason why they are spread out over a large of Ethiopia. Their oral tradition states that they originally settled in the Maji area, but had to leave after a war, migrating to the North on two different ways. The “upper way” led them via the Sheko and Bench areas towards GɛmɛMountain, the lower way across the natural Mɔtt bridge over the Yobi river to Dolakaay. The Majang are subdivided into over 70 different clans. Nowadays the Majang language is being used as medium of instruction in elementary schools of Gambella Region. Further language development is under way. 2 Descriptions of Majang were previously done by Cerulli, Bender and Unseth.Tone has not been described so far, but Ashinie Astin is currently working on this, to improve the orthography in use.
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