Introduction / History
The Argobba are a Muslim people group that is spread out through isolated village networks and towns in the northeast and east of Ethiopia. Historically, they have been an oppressed people group, suffering from land incursions and economic pressures from neighboring people groups on one hand, and natural famine pressures on the other. The Argobba have typically been astute traders and merchants, and have adjusted to the economic trends in their area. These factors have led to the overall suppression of the Argobba language. In some places it has homogenized with Amharic. In other places the people have shifted to neighboring languages for economic reasons. At this time there are only a few areas left where the Argobba are not at least bilingual in Amharic, Oromo or Afar. All of these languages have literature that can be used to serve the Argobba, even though the current literacy rate in any language is low for the Argobba. The number of Argobba that cannot be served by another language is uncertain.
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