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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GASHAW Arutie Asaye, Semantics and Pragmatics

This paper focuses on the semantics of motion expressions, specifically self-agentive translational motion, in Gojjam variety of Amharic, which belongs to transverse group of South Ethio-semetic branch, Afroasiatic phylum. The analysis of this study is predominantly based on written texts and elicited data. The present study has identified that Amharic motion expressions can be divided into four groups: (a) expressions which denote motion per se, (b) verbs that take figure conflation, (c) verbs that take path conflation and (d) verbs that encode manner/cause conflation. In Amharic, motion events can be quantified by a phrasal quantifier which is formed from a numeral and the word gɨze ‘time’, e.g., hulət gɨze mət’t’a ‘he came two times’. The term gɨze can be shortened to ɨzze or -e (cf. Lesalu 1995: 265), e.g., addisaba sost ɨzze hɨdʒalləhu ‘I went to Addis Ababa three times’, assɨre mət’t’a ‘he came ten times’. In addition, frequency of movement can be expressed by reduplicating one or two consonantal roots (e.g., təməlalləs- ‘commute’, təzəwazəwwər- ‘move frequently’, -mət’at’t’a come occasionally). Total reduplication of an ideophone can also show frequentative movement, e.g., ɨnkɨʃʃa_ɨnkɨʃʃa al- ‘to hop on one foot while keeping the other leg doubled up’, ɨmbat’t’ ɨmbat’t’ al- ‘jump more than one time’, dɨkk_dɨkk al-‘walk with light and short steps’. Moreover, gemination (e.g., k’əəə…ss al- ‘be very slow’, rot’t’ al- ‘run’, fət’t’ən al- ‘be fast’), and reduplication (e.g., təngəzaggəz- ‘plod’, təmzəgəzzəg- ‘walk in a hurry’, təwɨdʒəmədʒdʒəm- ‘walk very quickly for physically big figure’, təlwəsəwwəs- ‘move with difficulty after being injured’) show intensity of movement (cf. Mengistu 2010: 297; Baye 2006: 73; Unseth 2002: 64).