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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BAYE Yimam, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Paper presenters:

SINTAYEHU Semu; ESAYAS Tajebe; AZEB Amha; BAYE Yimam; TSEHAY Abza Debo; GASHAW Arutie Asaye;
ANBESSA Teferra; FEKEDE Menuta; SHIMELIS Mazengia

How are they perceived in terms of quantity: mass, portion, collection, specificity, single, dual, pair, triple, quadruple entities, etc.?
How are things, measured, and what are the units or types of measurement: body parts like head, leg, arm, foot; rope, meter?
How do quantification and numeration interact with gender, age, size salience or social relevance?
Some points of departure on the theme of quantification and numeration of objects (and events) in space are as follows:
The central theme concerns questions like the following within the general number system of languages.

  1. What kinds of objects or entities are marked for number in Ethiopian languages?
  2. What is the role of salience or prominence in the number system?
  3. How are objects/entities perceived?
    1. Generic
    2. Mass and collectives
    3. Specific and non-specific
    4. Definite and indefinite
    5. Uniqueness and individuation

  4. How are these marked?
    1. Tonal
    2. Morphological
    3. Syntactic

  5. Which body parts are used to express or measure:
    1. single and multiple instances of a mass/collection?
    2. sizes of physical space such as land and quantity of mass

  6. How are measures phrases structured?
  7. How are objects classified as numerable, measureable, etc?
  8. What is the role gender in the numeration and/or quantification of objects?
  9. What is the role of animacy in the gender and number systems of Ethiopian languages?
  10. What is the interaction between number, gender and honorificity?

As to some references, I think any of the typological works of such people as William Croft, Bernard Comrie, Leonard Talmy may serve as spring boards.



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).



ESAYAS Tajebe, Mekelle University, Ethiopia

Saaho is one of East Cushitic language spoken in the Southeastern Eritrea and Northeastern part of Ethiopia. Banti and Vergari (2010), there are three main dialects: Northern, Central and Southern. This paper focuses on the Southern dialect. Saaho shows gender, not number, agreement in the subject inflection on verb. The gender values are masculine and feminine and are assigned to all nouns. Masculine show male and feminine a female subject agreement on verb. Nouns are grouped as V-final or C-final based on formal or semantic gender assignment system,. The formal system, tone pattern, is used for V-final nouns whereas semantic system, scale of individuation, is used with C-final nouns. On V-final nouns, placement of tone on penultimate triggers masculine but on the final syllable triggers feminine gender. On C-final nouns collective aggregates are feminine but granular aggregates, liquids/substance, individual objects are masculine. The number values of nouns include singular, plural and general. Singular nouns form plurative by morphological means. The plural reference nouns form singulative by adding a suffix. General reference nouns form singulative and plurative references. The number values are associated with gender. Singulative forms can show gender either feminine or masculine by formal system. On nouns not semantically specified for sex, the gender of singulative forms has direct correlation with Part-Whole references. Masculine singulative form has a small size or partitive reference whereas feminine singulative form has whole reference. The gender values on plurative forms show difference within the Saaho varieties. In Southern Saaho, all plurative forms trigger feminine agreement on the verb and are considered as feminine whereas in the other dialects plurative forms are feminine and/or masculine (Welmers (1953) and Banti and Vergari (2007)



AZEB Amha, African Studies Centre, Leiden University

In this presentation I will discuss the interesting way that number and definiteness/specificity interact in a number of Omotic languages. In some languages, for example Yem, morphological allomorphs of plural number are distributed according to the definite-indefinite value of nouns. In others, for example Gamo and Wolaitta, all plural-marked nouns are interpreted as definite, even when the latter category is not overtly marked. I will examine this phenomenon of category-dependence and discuss any correlation it might have with the formal way in which number is marked (affixation, reduplication or modification by an independent word) and/or the types of number distinctions that are made (singular - plural only, or this extend to the distinction of dual and paucal as well).



BAYE Yimam, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

The literature on Amharic numerals recognizes number as cardinal and ordinal references to definite or indefinite objects. The ordinal is marked with the suffix -äňňa, as in and-äňňa ‘1st’. This is used in reference to an object situated in a ranking order. The ranked object is one among a definite or indefinite group of objects organized in a linear or hierarchical manner. In addition to this, there is a third type attested in the counting of siblings in descending order. This comes from the variety of Amharic spoken in rural villages of North Wällo. In this variety, expressions like, hulätt-∂yya, sost-∂yya etc. are used to refer to one’s second, third, fourth, etc younger sibling. The suffix also occurs in the form, mänt-∂yya ‘one’s twin’ from the noun mänta ‘twin’. All such expressions are genitive with an implicit possessor assumed. With the cardinal numeral and ‘one’ the suffix renders the sense of an action done once and for all, as in and-∂yya-u-n hedä ‘he left for good’ or az∂mära-u and-∂yya-u-n t’∂ftowal. ‘The harvest is totally/completely destroyed’. In such contexts the expression has a wide scope interpretation of the manner of an action or state. Could such references be characteristic of other languages of the region?



TSEHAY Abza Debo, Lecturer at Hawassa University and PhD. candidate at Addis Ababa University, Dep't of Linguistics, Ethiopia

This paper is concerned with the morphological focus marking in Inor, a Peripheral Western Gurage language in the Southern part of Ethiopia. Conducting research on this topic is a task well worth doing, as detailed work has not been carried out on this area. Focus is a discourse function, and it is a constituent which is of communicative interest to the interlocutors when compared to what has already been discussed. Focus is the information which is relatively the most important or salient in the given communicative setting and considered by the speaker to be essential for the addressee to integrate into his pragmatic information (cf. Dik 1997:326). Qualitative research methodology is used in the study. The linguistic data have been collected using key informants, and they have been analyzed thematically. The findings show that depending on the intention of the speaker to emphasize it, any constituent of a sentence can be marked for focus in Inor. In the morphological way of marking a focus, the focus particle (which is an affix) occurs in a variable position following the focused element in the presence of other suffixal elements with various functions. It is also found that the suffixes -ʃ and -m are the most frequently used type of focus markers which assign selective focus to the constituent they are suffixed to. Furthermore, the later has an expanding function. Moreover, the bound morpheme -x⁽ʷ⁾, which has a completive function, is another focus particle which is mainly used with questions. It is also attested that the focus markers -ʃe and -dar(əga) rarely occur with very limited distribution. This paper is organized as follows. The first section presents the background of the study, mainly focusing on the people and their language. The second section is about the contrastive (or identificational) focus marker. In this section, the expanding, selective or restrictive and replacive focus markers are discussed. The third section, on the other hand, focuses on the assertive (or completive or information) focus, and the final section summarizes the paper.



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).



ANBESSA Teferra, Department of Hebrew Language and Semitic Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities, Tel Aviv University, Israel

The aim of this paper is analyse the quantification and numeration system of Sidaama, a Highland East Cushitic (HEC) language spoken in south-central Ethiopia. Among other things, nouns in this language are marked for number. Three categories of number are distinguished: basic form (collective), singulative, and plural. The basic form is unmarked for number but some of its members may have a collective reading. A singulative has an individuating function and denotes a single referent as in woš-i-ččo ʻdogʼ. It can also mark a diminutive, particularly in adjectives. The singulative is marked by /–čo/ ~ /–ččo/. Some nouns in their synchronic form carry either /–ššo/ or /-kko/ as singulative markers. The plural marks more than one referent. Among HEC languages, Sidaama has a rich plural system whereby it is marked by /-Ca/, /-uwa/, /-aasine/, etc. The formative /-Ca/ (whereby C is a copy of the stem-final segment) appears to be the default plural marker because it has a higher frequency and is the preferred plural for loan words. Although singular with numerals is possible, the preferred form in Sidaama is plural with numerals. Sidaama exhibits quite a widespread polarity whereby the gender is reversed between the singular and plural of nouns (for instance masculine noun in the singular but feminine in the plural). Numerals from 20 up to 90 are derived from unit numerals but involve a number of sound changes. Non-count nouns are specified by means of measure phrases. The head of the measure phrase can consist of traditional measure nouns such as č’igile ‘arm’, saffe ‘a grain measure’, etc. or modern measure nouns such as t’armuse ‘bottle’ or farasula ‘a dry measure of 17 kilogramsʼ which are usually loan words.



FEKEDE Menuta, Hawassa University, Ethiopia

Entities existing in space are quantified and measured differently. The way they are conceptualized and their units of measurement vary across languages. This article aims to describe how entities in space are perceived in terms of generic-specific, mass-collective, definite-indefinite and masculine-feminine poles, and how they are measured in the Gurage language. Gurage has a number of language varieties; the data for this study was collected from the Gumer variety. Three key informants were used to elicit the data. An introspective method was also used, as the researcher speaks the language. It was found that nouns can be singular (ərʧ ‘boy’), plural (dengja ‘boys’) or collective (səb ‘person’). Singular is not marked, but plural is expressed by lexical means and verb agreement. Pronominal suffixes that also mark definiteness distinguish singular and plural: fek’-hut (goat-DEF ‘the goat’) and fek’-hɨno (goat-DEF.PL ‘the goats’). Pronominal suffixes also express honorific masculine and feminine nouns. The collective plural is expressed with {nə-}: nə-gwənʧə (PL-hyena ‘group of hyenas’). Gender interacts with animacy but not with number. Only animate and human nouns distinguish feminine grammatically; otherwise, all nouns are masculine. Flat objects are measured with units, such as k’it’er ‘leaf’, ʤef ‘foot’, ʒɨr ‘stick’ and wədərə ‘rope’. Liquids are measured with their container: ank’əfwə ‘spoon’, wəʃər ‘pot’, t’ɨwa ‘ a small size pot’, and ʤəbən ‘kittle’. Solid objects are measured with units such as əʤ ‘hand’; k’una, jibanguna, gurət, k’ərʧ’at all referring to different types of baskets; ʤunja ‘sack’, and ʃat ‘granary’. Parts are measured with fɨnt ‘half’, fwɨrɨm ‘piece’; pairs with t’ɨmd ‘tame’ and ləmʧa ‘twin’; set of entities with angədo ‘cattle in cages’. Objects are also measured with gwəʤə ‘hole’, t’or ‘ load on a head’, finʧ’ə ‘sip’, and t’ɨmwjət ‘roll’. Some units measure liquids and solids. The same entity can be an object and unit of measurement. Syntactically, measure phrases precede the entity measured.



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.