The pragmatics of blessings in Gedeo (south Ethiopia)
The Gedeo, a Cushitic-speaking group in southern Ethiopia, have a long tradition of blessing expressions ingrained in their native cosmology. The pragmatics of the Gedeo people's blessing utterances are examined in this article. Pertinent information was gathered from knowledgeable senior community members through interviews, and focus group discussions conducted between November 2020 and December 2021. The technique of gathering data also included non-participant observations. We have thematically analysed the data based on the situations in which the blessings are expressed and used to convey the intended meanings in the specific contexts, The expressive functions of blessings in Gedeo vary from context to context as would be expected, but, interestingly, they frequently revolve around praising Mageno ‘the Creator,’ shielding fellow community members from harm, boosting the land's productivity, safeguarding the environment, and upholding the general well-being of the community. We conclude that, while blessings have diverse meanings depending on the context in which they are expressed, their overall purpose is to preserve communal harmony and order.