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How Have Colonization And War Created Modern Somalia?

1342 words - 6 pages

The Somali Language Today
Somali leaders faced the challenge of harmonizing the educational systems, the curriculum, and the language of instruction. There was a need to develop an official script for the Somali language, which was still only a spoken language at independence. At the time, the military were in power who were under the leadership of Said Barre. His main aim was to reduce and eventually fully eradicate clan conflict and ignorance through the mass education of its people. Consequently, the development of a written Somali language was very important to achieving those aims. In 1972 the modified Roman alphabet was accepted with a military decree that made Somali the language of official business and instruction for the country. Teachers in Somalia were given up to three months to learn and become skilled in the language. At the same time, the textbooks and curriculum were developed and adapted to portray the new values of the Somali society, and a mass literacy campaign was launched to teach every Somali how to read and write. This campaign had many positive effect in Somalia and on the school system as, for the first time in its history, all the students, regardless of their location in the country, were taught in the same language, using the same textbooks. However, this progress education was making in Somalia was made to stop as the civil war broke out and lasted from 1991 to 1998. As educational facilities were one of the many casualties of the war, it eradicated all the progress that was made in the education sector. Ten years after the civil war had begun; Somalia found it very difficult to rebuild its nation and its educational system. As a result of the war, the country became detached into three parts. In 1991 the Somaliland Republic was created and in 1998, the northeast proclaimed a separate government under the name of Puntland. This caused the south to be left under the ruler-ship of various warlords. Throughout Somalia, the only available education is offered through private institutions and international organizations.
Somali is also spoken in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, as well as by Somali communities in the Middle East. An estimated 7 million native Somali speakers live in Somalia while an estimated 10 to 16 million native Somali speakers exist globally. Arabic is still prominent in Somalia and is a second official language in the country. It is spoken mainly in the north of the country and along the coast. Many Somalis also speak English or Italian due to Somalia’s colonial history. Due to this colonial history and the civil war, the Somali language has been suppressed which has caused divergence and variations in the language. I have asked Somali speakers from different areas in Somalia questions about their language in the form of an informal interview. I did this to see if their language differs in even the slightest form. I asked them to translation the declarative “The bathroom is upstairs” in Somali. I...

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