In both woredas the people’s response to the health services offered was law, and in particular it was so when coming to maternity facilities and women’s health. The worst situation, however, was registered in the Hamar area. Of course, the reasons for this were to be looked for in the position of women in the Hamar context, already very well described by Jean Lydall and Ivo Strecker in 1979. Nevertheless, according to the data published by Elfmann in 2005 concerning Dhaasanach women, even in this case the situation was not really reassuring. On the basis of this preliminary knowledge, and given the very short time at my disposal (three weeks only) for my fieldwork in the two woredas , in order to gather as many useful data as possible, I decided to visit five different locations in Hamar and five different villages in Dhaasanach, in order to discuss with women alone about their life, starting always from the lexical mapping of specific domains, analyse the results emerged and then prepare a schema for structured interviews to be used for verification, eventually by the CUAMM’s operators alone once I would have been back to Italy. The lexical field mapped were: • Taxonomy of women’s life stages; • Terminology referred to the different wives in the polygamous family; • Terminology of food given to the babies during breastfeeding and weaning; • Terminology of social roles (masculine and feminine) in the family / clan / village. Due to space constraints, I will discuss here only the first table:
When ethnolinguistics breaks out of academia 147 Hamar Dhaasanach Child naanu marti Adolescent ansanu nyakhataran* after neyra and d’immi Bride uta nyakhataran Woman/Mother uta* even though barren minni only after having delivered a baby Widow ma k’ambi minni All the words gathered were extensively discussed with all the women met in the different households and villages, in order to have a clear idea of their cultural and practical meaning. As anthropology teaches, speaking of age classes, each change in terminology corresponds to a change in social status and in the expectations, roles, possibilities a society recognizes to its members. Now, left aside childhood, looking at the table, the first divergence lays in the meaning and duration of the second passage in the two societies. Admitted that for both Hamar and Dhaasanach “adolescence”represents a very short period in life, characterized by the need to find a husband at soonest, 16 in Hamar it is shorter than in Dhaasanach. In Hamar, just after the first menstruation, an ansanu can get married without any further delay. In Dhaasanach a girl can become a nyakhataran even before her first menstruation. Dhaasanach celebrate this passage through the performance of the clitoris excision ( neyra ) which is usually done only once every two or three years for all the girls of the same village-like settlement. Therefore, sometimes it happens that even baby girls or, on the contrary, girls who are having their periods already since some months, undergo this rite together. After neyra,
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- Summer '20
- Dr joseph
- Anthropology, Hamar, Ilaria Micheli