Grammaticalization in Ethiosemitic with Comparisons to Oromo

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Addis Ababa University


The main objective of this study was to identify, describe, and explain selected instances of grammaticalization in Ethiosemitic languages and Oromo. Body part terms, similatives, demonstratives, and allatives are the major topics considered in the study. Body part terms are observed grammaticalizing into markers of spatial, temporal and logical relations. In the North Ethiosemitic languages the Semitic root msl is found developing into a comitative and temporal marker. The evolution of similatives into complement, temporal, and purpose clause markers is also observed in the majority of Ethiosemitic languages and in Oromo. The word for ‘one’ (and) is proposed as an alternative etymology for the Amharic similative marker ǝndä. Relative and genitive markers are analyzed with a demonstrative origin as a common source. The genitive-relative element yä- is treated as a result of polygrammaticalization from a common demonstrative element.



Grammaticalization in Ethiosemitic