Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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SINTAYEHU Semu, College of Arbaminch Teachers' Education, Ethiopia

The paper presents analysis of systems for counting and measuring objects in East Ometo, Ganta. The numeration and quantification strategies of Ganta are applied to animate (countable) and inanimate (mass) nouns. The former groups of nouns are considered to be numerable and, except for a single entity, they are morphologically marked for numeration. But for the single entity, the situation is not morphologically marked; rather citation form words (objective or accusative case words) are used in Ganta. The latter counterparts of nouns are perceived as measurable and in the case of body parts such as head, forehead, mouth, hand, back and foot, are used to measure single and collective quantities of them. Other than body parts, Ganta uses terms like gáde ‘land’ and keetstsé ‘house’ with quantification word kúme ‘full’ to measure collective objects. In the numeration and quantification processes, Ganta people use gender to express physically measurable situations. For this reason, notions of maleness and femaleness are used respectively to express big and small sized definite objects. Furthermore, in pragmatic speech contexts, the notion of physically large objects is referred to using the male sex referent in order to express a sense of ignorance, whereas the notion of small objects is referred to in the female sex to express love and closeness. On the other hand, Ganta people use morphologically marked plural number, and second and third person plural pronouns and their markers in the syntax to express respect for society elders, local leaders, well-known personalities and traditionally nominated people (king).