Current Trends in Tigrinya Punctuation


  • Abate Kassahun Teferra MU Author


Tigrinya, orthography, Ge'ez, punctuation, trend


This study looked into trends in Tigrinya punctuation which, in large part, is Ethiopic (better known as Ge'ez, locally) but has adopted several marks as some, such as the word divider, ceased to be used. Data was collected from purposefully selected Tigrinya textbooks, books, newspapers, and proceedings; text analysis was employed to describe the names, number, uses as well as possible trends. A critical look into the selected materials shows a continued use of both Ethiopic and English punctuation as well as an influence of the latter over the years. Though the Ethiopic marks are often aligned with similar ones in English, such correspondence often leads to needless usage and/or inappropriate use owing to differences in the languages and versatility of the pairs of marks. Problems that are attributed to lack of knowledge and guidelines for punctuation, among other things, include inconsistent use within and across texts, misuse, disuse, and underuse of marks. Such problems are coupled with renewed desire to use Ethiopic marks in the face of the influence of Western practices, differences in the use of some marks in Tigrai and Eritrea as well as current trends (often times, irregularities). Given the importance of the orthographic aspect in structuring and fully understanding written language as well as the prevailing problems, it is imperative to specify the marks to be used along with explicit functions and roles and diffuse such knowledge in all levels of education.