Ethnicity, Language, Friendship, and Intergroup Relations on Campus

By Abebaw Y. Adamu.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 26, 2016 $US5.00

The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of language and ethnicity on friendship and intergroup relations among university students. The study was conducted at Bahir Dar University. The participants were students and teachers who were selected using purposive and chain referral sampling. The study used a qualitative research approach, and necessary data were collected through interview and document review. The study revealed that although Amharic is the working language of the federal state and has been adopted as a language of countrywide communication and is taught as a subject in primary and secondary education, there are university students who have little or insufficient Amharic language skills. This negatively affected cross-group friendship and intergroup relations on campus. The study also showed that similarities in behavior and attitude were the main criteria that students used in selecting and potentially being selected by others as close friends. However, the growing tendency toward ethnic-based friendships decreases intergroup contact and opportunities to establish cross-group friendships, which are important in reducing prejudice and improving positive intergroup relations between university students from different ethnic backgrounds. This finding has very strong implications in changing the attitudes of school students toward Amharic, strategies for teaching Amharic as a second language, and promoting diversity on campus and beyond.

Keywords: Ethnicity, Friendship, Language, Intergroup Relations, University Students

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 23, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.13-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 26, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 492.000KB)).

Dr. Abebaw Y. Adamu

Assistant Professor, Quality Assurance Director, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia