Grammatical Description and Documentation of Bayso

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Addis Ababa University


This dissertation deals with the documentation and grammatical description of Bayso/Giddicho, a Lowland East Cushitic language spoken in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. Bayso is an endangered language due to th e strong pressure of the dominant languages spoken in the area, urbanization and population reduction. The documentat ion palt covers video and audio annotation of texts, bilingual word list (Bayso- English) and th e grammatical description. The grammatical description examines Bayso phonology, morphology and syntax based on the primary data that was obta ined via series of fie ldworks and through elicitation, interviews, observation and discussion methods. Therefore, the qualitative research methodology was employed in this disseltation. Bayso, whi ch belongs to Lowland East Cushitic, Omo-Tana subgroup, has 28 consonant phonemes and five vowels with contrastive long vowels. Bayso employs diverse system of noun plural isation which includes suffixa tion, reduplication and final vowel elision. Bayso also marks paucal and singulative on nouns by using di fferent suffixes. Theoretically, a language that marks paucal should also mark dual. However, Bayso is one of few languages that mark paucal without marking dual. Gender polarity is also one of the marked features of Bayso which was one ofthe foc uses ofthis disseltat ion. In Bayso, gender is not marked on nouns. It is refl ected th rough agreement on other word categories such as verb, adjective and demonstrative. The grammatical cases, nominative and accusative, are not morphologically marked. However, the sematic cases such as genitive, dati ve and instrumental are marked with various strategies. In Bayso, noun derivation is not as productive as other related languages. Yet, new nouns can be derived from the existing ones by us ing vari ous suffixes. In Bayso, both verb inflection and deri vation mainly invo lve suffixation. A verb is inflected for tense, person and number to show concord. Verb stems such as causatives, passIves, frequentat ives and inchoati ves are derived by using different derivational suffixes. Word order in Bayso is fl exible. That is modifiers may precede or follow the ir head. However, subordi nate clause always occurs preceding the matrix clause. Bayso employs various mechanisms of sentence chaining, that is, to form coordination, subordinat ion and co nverbs.