Main Article Content
This study focuses on analyzing the persuasive discourse strategies of elders in Jaarsummaa, an indigenous method of conflict resolution used among the Oromoo people. To this end, twelve actual Jaarsummaa sessions were observed and audio-recorded from West Arsi Zone of Oromia National Regional State. The data were analyzed using a top-down approach to discourse analysis called rhetorical appeals analysis. Results of the analysis revealed that elders predominantly made credibility appeal to build a trustworthy image as mediators and lead disputants to reconciliation. To be specific, the elders used persuasive discourse strategies such as affirming the positive worth of disputants, making direct requests, claiming neutrality, forecasting negative consequences, emotive languages, collective voice, telling anecdotes, blessing and prayer, and proverbs and sayings. The elders also used face-saving strategies such as honorifics and inclusive pronouns to create a positive communication atmosphere in the sessions. To legitimize their persuasion, the elders often appeal to societal norms, religious values and government discourse. In short, Jaarsummaa involves complex discursive practices which have scientifically proven values in cleansing sense of enmity and persuading disputants to come to reconciliation. Hence, I recommend considering indigenous practice as a complementary tool to the formal justice system and integrating its elements into modern curriculum.