Zum Hauptinhalt springen

Wakweya Gobena

PhD Student

I am working on the typology of possessive constructions in Ethiopian Afroasiatic languages focusing on Oromo (Cushitic), Amharic (Ethiosemitic), and Sheko (Omotic). This study deals with both the adnominal and the predicative possession. My main interest is in the predicative possession because of its potential complexities in many languages. Since Oromo and Amharic are the predominant languages in the Ethiopian Language Area, I am also interested in looking into some contact-induced changes vis-à-vis possession expressions. My thesis is supervised by Malte Zimmermann & Ilja Seržānt.


Oromo (native), Amharic (native), English (advanced), German (basic)


Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 24

House 14, Room 3.20

14476 Potsdam

Tel.: +4915157883079

Email: wakweya.gobena (at) uni-potsdam (punkt) de


  • MA in linguistics, Addis Ababa University. (Inflectional Morphology in Oromo), 2014.
  • BA in English language teaching, Jimma University. (The influence of mother tongue interference during group discussions in English classes of 12th-grade students), 2010.

Professional assignments

  • Research fellow, project C08/SFB 1287, University of Potsdam (May 2022 – June 2023) 
  • PhD Student, Department of Linguistics, University of Potsdam (2023 – present).
  • PhD Student, Department of Linguistics, Addis Ababa University (2016 – present).
  • Lecturer and researcher, Department of English Language and Literature, Jimma University (Sept. 2014 – April 2022).


  • Short-term fellowship in project C08/SFB 1287: “Consequences of Head and Argument Order for Syntax”, University of Potsdam (May 15, 2022 – May 14, 2023).
  • Doctoral project completion scholarship, the University of Potsdam (2023 – 2025).


Wakweya Gobena, Desalegn Hagos & Ronny Meyer. (in press). Copula and possession in Oromo: a typological perspective.

Wakweya Gobena (2023). Bivalent patterns in Oromo. In: Say, Sergey (ed.). BivalTyp: Typological database of bivalent verbs and their encoding frames. (Available online at https://www.bivaltyp.info)

Serawit H., Lombebo T., Wakweya G., Ephrem T. Endrias T., Asrat W. Tesfaye A. (2020). Challenges and Opportunities of Implementation of Industry Extension Service Program in MSE/SME and TVETs. Journal of Education Policy, 2: 62 – 74.   

Wakweya Gobena, Desalegn Hagos & Ronny Meyer. (2019). The verb k’ab- in Oromo. Zena-Lissan, 28(1) pp.91-121.

Wakweya Gobena and Elizabeth Minasse. (2018). Motion event construction in Oromo: semantic and morpho-syntactic properties. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 9 (4) 16-30.

Wakweya Gobena. (2017b). Inflectional morphology in mecha Oromo. Journal of Languages and Culture, 8 (8) pp. 110 – 140.

Wakwweya Gobena. (2017a). The feature of ATR and ATR harmony in Nilo-Saharan languages of Ethiopia. International Journal Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 16(2) pp. 62 – 75.



  • March 25: Existential possession in the languages of the Ethiopian area. Linguistics Spring Colloquium (virtual), University of North Carolina2022
  • April 07: Predicative possession in Amharic. Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL 53-virtual), the University of California San Diego.


  • October 27: Demonstrative constructions in Oromo. Emerging Topics in Typology (ETT 2021-International Workshop Series), University of Helsinki.
  • October 02: Copular constructions of possession in Sheko (Omotic). 2nd International Conference on Omotic Language Studies, Arba Minch University.
  • July 19: The verb k’ab- in Oromo. Annual Conference of the Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States (LACUS-virtual), The University of Toledo


  • October 27: Copula and possession in Oromo: a typological perspective. 28th Annual Research Conference, Addis Ababa University.
  • September 22: Euphemistic expressions in Oromo syntax: an ethno-linguistic perspective. International Research Conference (IADA-virtual), University of Warsaw.
  • January 01: Regulatory framework for the implementation of the Industry Extension Service Program in Ethiopian TVET Institutions. 3rd National Annual Research Conference, Higher Education Strategy Centre.


  • June 07: The verb ‘to have’ in Oromo. 27th Annual Research Conference, Addis Ababa University.


  • April 01: Inflectional morphology in mecha Oromo. 7th Annual Research Conference, Jimma University