Documentation and Grammatical Description of Gwama

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This dissertation was begun with the intention of describing the Grammar of Gwama and presenting annotated multimedia documentation of riddles, tales, and cultural practices of the ethnic group. To comprehensively describe the language and produce multimedia documentation, corpus data were collected from Gwama speaking group using different data collection methods. The data sources were communicative events such as elicitations, observed communicative events, and staged communicative events. The data were results of four stages of fieldwork activities. In the four-round fieldworks, consultants from different villages of Mao-Komo Special Woreda took part in this study, and the main sites of data collection were Tongo, Zebsher, and Asosa. The linguistic description of the language is presented in this dissertation in six chapters excluding the introductory one, which gives an overview of the Gwama ethnic group and their language. The issues covered in six chapters are phonology, noun morphology, pronouns, verb morphology, modifiers, and syntax. The phonology chapter presents consonant and vowel phonemes of the language, syllable structure, tone, phonological processes, and morphophonological processes. Gwama has 22 consonant phonemes, and the glottal stop /ʔ/ has a marginal status. These phonemes consist of six stops (/p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, and /ɡ/), four ejectives (/p’/, /t’/, /k’/, and /s’/) four fricatives (/f/, /s/, /z/, and /ʃ/), four nasals (/m/, /n/, /ɲ/, and /ŋ/), two liquids (/l/ and /r/), and two glides (/w/ and /j/). All these consonants appear in all environments except the fricatives /z/ and /h/, the nasal /ŋ/, and the glide /w/. The alveolar fricative /z/, the glottal fricative /h/, and the glide /w/ are not attested word finally, whereas the velar nasal /ŋ/ is not recorded word initially. The language allows a sequence of two consonants word medially and finally. Dominantly occurring consonant cluster (C1C2) is formed from a sonorant and an obstruent. In a bunch of lexemes having consonant sequence, a phoneme that appears first (C1) is nasal, and in limited instances such a phoneme is lateral. A consonant that dominantly appears next (C2) can be a stop, a fricative, or a nasal phoneme. There are five phonemic vowels along with equal number of long counterparts in the language. The schwa /ə/ and the front open-mid vowel /ɛ/ seem to have phonetic status. In fact, the schwa is mainly attested in connected speeches. Gwama has both open and closed syllable structures. In this regard, the syllable template of the language can be (C)V(V)(C)(C). The language is tonal, and three contrastive level tones (High (H), Mid (M), and Low (L)) are identified. Long vowels seem to have a rising (LH) and a falling (HL) viii tones, which requires further investigation. Tone in Gwama has lexical and grammatical role. Phonological processes such as labialization, assimilation, and vowel nasalization undergo word internally. The morphophonemic processes such as vowel deletion and reduplication are common in Gwama. The noun morphology of the language covers inflectional and derivational issues. The Gwama nouns are not morphologically marked for gender. Gender is identified through either with gender identifying definite markers –te/-e for masculine and –to/-o for feminine or suffixing gender-identifying lexemes kikjata „female‟ and kikeːzi „male‟. Prepositios serve as analytic case markers. The language is not rich in its derivational morphology. A relatively productive way of noun formation is compounding. Similar to other Koman languages, Gwama has subject and object personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, reflexive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, and interrogative pronouns. Subject and Object pronouns are identical. Verb morphology of the language includes issues like inflection and derivation, aspect/tense, and copula constructions. The language has different forms of modifiers, such as adjectives, adpositions, and numerals. The constituent order of phrases and clauses indicate that Gwama follows SVO structure, though sometimes SOV word order appears during conversations. Finally, it seems important to suggest that those who took the initiative in developing orthography and preparing teaching materials may consider this document as data source



Grammar of Gwama