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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SHIMELIS Mazengia, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

This study is concerned with investigating the cardinal and ordinal numbers of Afaan Oromoo (for the sake of brevity Oromo) based on data from the eastern variety which were obtained through consultation and introspection. The cardinal and ordinal numbers of the language are inflected for various meanings and grammatical functions. Unlike the rest of the cardinal numbers, ‘one’ distinguishes gender (tokko (m.)/takka (f.)). It could also be inflected for singulative. In addition, along with all the other cardinals, it may be inflected for case and focus. All the cardinal numbers may be inflected for limiting (e.g. torb-uma ‘just/only seven’) which could further take on a focus marker (e.g. torb-umaa-tu, torb-umaa-huu, subject and object, respectively). The cardinals for ‘two’ and above may be inflected for a partitive sense or for particularly identified items (e.g. sadeen ‘three of them/the three...’). Suffixing -uu to the preceding form renders a sense of universality or including all (e.g. sadeen-uu ‘all three’). Number ‘two’ is also structured in such a way to render the sense ‘again’ (lammata). Abstract nouns may be derived from the cardinal numbers in which case the counting and singulative forms of ‘one’ result in distinct meanings—tokk-ummaa ‘one-ness/unity’ and tokkicc-ummaa ‘being the only one’. The ordinal numbers are essentially similar to the cardinal ones in undergoing inflection.