Negation in Amharic Discourse

  • Baye Yimam

Abstract

This paper provides a description of the functions of wh-elements, kinship terms,and pronouns of endearment at the level of discourse. The wh-elements which serve as question words in the syntax of the language function as expressions of negation at the level of discourse. The kinship terms which occur with any structural case form in the syntax, exhibit a first person genitive possessive affix which refers to a possessor in topic position. Among such terms ϊhϊte ‘my sister’ has a reduced form ϊte which functions as a pro-form of addressee and also serves as an expression of a higher (stronger) level of negation. Its use is gender sensitive as it selects only a male addresser in topic position. Among the other kinship terms is abbat, ‘father’, not innat “mother’, which, like ϊte, occurs as an expression of a higher level of negation. Its use suggests another instance of gender and/or power sensitivity. In all cases, the kinship terms or their pro-form ϊte refer to an addressee, while the pronouns of endearment refer to an addresser in topic position. The expressions suggest that there is a hierarchy of negation or denial at the level of discourse, which in the syntax is
expressed by a single verbal prefix al-.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Awigchew, G. Demeke. 2003. The Clausal Structures of Ethiopian Semitic. PhD Dissertation, University of Tromso.
Baye Yimam. 2011 . ‘ïnğa in Amharic’. Journal of Ethiopian Studies. Vol. XL N0 1 -2, (21-35).
............ 2008 Amharic Grammar (in Amharic), revised 2 nd edition, Addis Ababa: Eleni Printing Press.
............ 2006. The Interaction of Tense, Aspect, and Agreement in Amharic. In: John Mugane, John P. Hutchison and Dee A. Worman (eds.) 35 th Annual Conference on African Linguistics. Cascadilla Proceedings Project. (193-202).
........ 1996. Definiteness in Amharic discourse. Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, 17, (47- 83).
Chomsky, Noam. 1986. Knowledge of Language, Its Nature and Use. London: Praeger.
Comrie, Bernard. 1981. Language Universals and Linguistic Typology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Leslau, Wolf. 1995. A Reference Grammar of Amharic. Wiesbaden: Harrassowich.
Taddese Beyene. 1989. Terms of Endearment in Amharic, their Morphological Structure and Sociological Norms. Journal of Ethiopian Studies, XXI (65-75).
Published
2012-07-27
How to Cite
YIMAM, Baye. Negation in Amharic Discourse. Ethiopian Journal of Languages and Literature, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1, p. 1 - 22, july 2012. Available at: <http://ejol.aau.edu.et/index.php/EJOLL/article/view/569>. Date accessed: 06 june 2020.
Please advise your journal citation style before using the above citation format, you can also find your citation style from citation formats listed down.