A Lexicostatistical Analysis of Nine Aari Dialects

  • Melkeneh Seid
  • Yohannes Adigeh


This article deals with a lexicostatistical analysis of the nine Aari varieties: Gayl, Sido, Woba, Layda, Biyo, Shengama, Baaka, Kure and Kaysa. The right names and numbers of Aari dialects or language varieties have been describing in different ways in many past literatures and again there were no thorough studies on the mutual intelligibility level of all the language varieties of Aari. In order to show an overall intelligibility level between language varieties, lexical, phonological and grammatical (morphological and syntactical) comparisons are needed. Therefore, to fill the gap, in this article a lexical comparisons among the nine Aari language varieties are discussed. The lexical comparisons were done in three different categories (completely similar, partially similar and completely different vocabularies) based on 324 lexical items from each language variety. As a result, depending on percentages of completely similar shared lexicons the varieties are ranked from the highest to the least as Layda, Shengama, Biyo, Kure, Woba, Baaka, Sido, Kaysa and Gayl. In the second partially similar category the varieties are ranked from the highest shared percentage to the least as follows: Gayl, Sido, Woba, Baaka, Biyo, Kure, Kaysa, Shengama and Layda. In the third and final category of unshared vocabularies percentages, the language varieties are ranked from the highest unshared or dissimilar variety to the least unshared one based on their dissimilarity level as follows: Gayl, Kaysa, Sido & Baaka, Woba, Kure, Biyo, Shengama and Layda. Finally, in the total RPV (a rank position value) result of completely similar vocabularies, based on their similarities language varieties are clustered in four groups from highest to the least one. Here, the clustering shows that lexically Layda language variety is considered as the center for the rest of all varieties. In contrast, the varieties Kaysa and Gayl have the least shared lexicons than the rest seven varieties or lexically they are too different than all the rest Aari varieties.


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How to Cite
SEID, Melkeneh; ADIGEH, Yohannes. A Lexicostatistical Analysis of Nine Aari Dialects. ZENA - LISSAN (Journal of Academy of Ethiopian Languages and Cultures), [S.l.], v. 26, n. 1, p. 19 - 51, jan. 2017. ISSN 2222-6028. Available at: <http://ejol.aau.edu.et/index.php/AELC/article/view/1155>. Date accessed: 16 feb. 2019.
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