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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TEKLAY Kahsay, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Verbs are organized into syntactically and semantically distinct verb classes and that class membership determines the grammaticality of argument structure. Cross-linguistically, it has been shown that verbs fall into different semantic and morpho-syntactic categories (Chafe 1970, Perlmutter 1978, Rosen 1984, Givón 1984, Levin 1993, among many others). This study aims to present and describe aspectual classes of verb argument structure constructions and their alternation processes of Tigrinya within the theoretical framework of Role and Reference Grammar (RRP) approach. It considers the relationship between the lexical semantics of a verbs and their structure (realization), the specified number and types of arguments a verb requires and the ordering of those arguments on a thematic hierarchy. These verbs are arranged into four subgroups as activity, accomplishment, stative and achievement verbs according to a number of semantic variables related to their argument structures. The result of the study revealed that verbs of creation, Verbs of ingesting, the verbs of heating and inherently directed motion verbs are categorized as Accomplishment verbs in Tigrinya. Manner of motion verbs, walking verbs, verbs of dispatching are classified as activity verbs in Tigrinya. Perception verbs, subject experiencer psych-verbs, liking verbs, body posture verbs, position verbs are classified as stative verbs in Tigrinya. Moreover, changes of physical state verbs, object experiencer psych-verbs are classified as achievement verbs in Tigrinya. Unlike the three verb classes Tigrinya accomplishment verbs have inherent causative semantics, which can be expressed either lexically or morphologically and they have feature [+ causative]. Tigrinya, object-experiencer verbs are derived from their subject-experiencer correspondents via the overt causative morpheme ʔa-and the changing position of the subject and object and have an un-accusative structure. Unlike others, achievement verbs disallow the durative adverbials like for six weeks, all summer etc. It is also observed that there aspectual shift from activity verbs to accomplishment verbs by adding near demonstratives like (to this, to those and quantity specifiers like one, two….).