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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MULUGETA Seyoum, Academy of Ethiopian Languages and Culture, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Paper presenters:




Magdalena KRZYŻANOWSKA, Universität Hamburg, Germany

Amharic epistemic verbs may be divided into two groups: those which entail knowledge on the part of the speaker, such as awwäqä ‘know’, gäbba(w) ‘understand’, tägänäzzäbä ‘realize’, and those which do not entail knowledge, like assäbä ‘think’, ammänä ‘believe’, gämmätä ‘assume’. All these verbs require two core arguments: an experiencer in the subject slot (A) and a complement clause in the object slot (O). In a sentence the complement clause always precedes the main clause; the two are linked paratactically. The aim of my paper is to analyse what kinds of complement clauses Amharic epistemic verbs may take and what is the semantic difference between the various kinds of complements. There are three methods of epistemic verb complementation: the complement clause may be a non-finite clause introduced by the complementizer ǝndä- ‘that’, a finite clause introduced by the inflectable subordinate linker bǝlo ‘he saying:’ or it may appear as a nominalized clause. I will show that the two above-mentioned groups of Amharic epistemic verbs show different preferences as to their choice of a complement clause strategy. Thus, the epistemic verbs which entail knowledge on the part of the speaker take either the ǝndä- complement clause or the nominalized clause. Those epistemic verbs which entail lack of knowledge on the part of the speaker can take the ǝndä- complement, the bǝlo complement or in some cases the nominalized clause. I will try to explain what the meaning of each of these three complement types is and, at the same time, why the ǝndä- complement clause and the nominalized clause are semantically compatible with both groups of epistemic verbs.



Iosif FRIDMAN, St. Tikhon Orthodox University of Humanities, Moscow, Russian Federation, Russia

Prospective is a gram of the cross-linguistic category of verbal aspect that denotes, if we resort to the definition given by Bernard Comrie, "a state ... related to equally subsequent situation, for instance where someone is in a state of being about to do something". Prospective constructions (as a general rule, this meaning is expressed analytically) can be exemplified by the English to be going to do sth, to be on the point of doing sth. In Modern Amharic, similar meanings are expressed by constructions involving the conjunction lә- combined with the Simple Imperfective form of the lexical verb and the copulas näw, näbbärä, allä and tägäňňä. In my paper, I shall venture to investigate the semantics of each of these constructions, the syntactic conditions of their employment, the pragmatic connotations involved in their use in speech as well as their interaction with other modal and aspectual domains of the Amharic verb. Another aim of the paper is to place the Amharic prospective within the general typological context and comparing it with the findings of other researchers who worked with various genetically and structurally diverse languages.



MULUGETA Seyoum, Academy of Ethiopian Languages and Culture, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

This paper describes the meanings and use of some of the utterance particles in Amharic. The study will mainly focus on the two particles of Amharic, Ɂɨnde and Ɂɨkko, in relation to the relevance theory of communication (Sperber & Wilson, 1995). Relevance theory attempts to capture the notion of relevance in communicative situations through contextual effects. As Dobson (1974:4) stated, the word “particle” is frequently used to describe various kinds of morphemes in various languages. Similar to other categories, it is often difficult to label this class of morpheme. In Amharic the particle / Ɂɨnde is used to express surprise and a feeling of discontent, to ask confirmation, and to oppose or warn somebody from doing something wrong. On the other hand, the particle Ɂɨkko is used for confirmation, as a focusing device, and expressing surprise, irony or to indicate utterance. The paralinguistic features such as intonation on the particle also play an important role in conveying the attitude of the speaker. Moreover, the particles in combination express surprise and function as a focusing device. The particle Ɂɨnde is frequently used in interrogative, while the particle Ɂɨkko is used frequently in declarative constructions. However, the particles Ɂɨnde and Ɂɨkko can be used in both ways. The analysis of this paper is based on the theory of Sperber & Wilson (1995). According to the relevance theory, utterance production and interpretation are governed by a specific cognitive force, which makes us presuppose optimal relevance, that is, the derivation of adequate cognitive or contextual effects for minimal processing effort. The greater the contextual effect, the greater the relevance. According to Sperber & Wilson (1995), relevance depends on contextual effect and processing effort. This shows a clear connection between relevance and understanding. Communication is successful not when hearers recognize the linguistic meanings of utterance, but when they infer the speakers' "meaning" from it. Thus, this study discusses and analyzes the utterance particles in relation to the relevant theory.



YONATTAN Araya, Mekelle University, College of Social Social Sciences and Languages, Ethiopia; Postdoctoral fellow of Peace and Conflict at the Institute of Dispute Resolution in Africa, College of Law, University of South Africa, South Africa

Since the introduction of Amharic as a sole federal language, the language has been perceived as hegemonic that has brought about economic and linguistic inequalities, and linguistic resistance. However, in Ethiopia, empirical research on language hegemony and resistance, and economic inequalities has a substantial gap and has never used critical discourse analysis as an instrument to unmask dominance and inequalities interlinked with the use Amharic of as a federal language. Hence, the main objective of this study is to bridge this gap. To this effect, qualitative data were gathered through interviews from 40 purposely selected key informants, as well as through questionnaire from 218 randomly selected postgraduate students of Addis Ababa University. The data were categorized and analyzed through critical discourse and thematic analyses. That is, qualitative data gathered through interview and questionnaires were categorized into various themes; then, the data were analyzed by selecting the themes and linking them. Also, Amharic dominance and the resultant inequalities were revealed through critical discourse analysis. Results indicate that the use of Amharic only as a federal language has resulted in cultural inequalities, linguistic hegemony and resistance, and asymmetrical economic opportunities. Amharic hegemony is reflected in many social fields such as the mass media, film and music industry, and federal offices where the language is used as a medium of recruitment for jobs as well for communications in business and the mass media which eventually excludes other languages speakers from high economic, cultural, and social statues. As a result, dominant languages speakers are pressing for the use of their own languages, along with Amharic, as federal languages. Such arguments have in turn made the continuity of the status of Amharic questionable. Therefore, it is concluded that these practices are threats for societal and political stability which could cause national strife if remedial actions are not taken timely. It is also suggested that the use of either English, which is a culturally neutral language to all linguistic groups, or all major indigenous languages as federal languages is a viable policy option to eliminate linguistic hegemony and resistance, and inequitable economic opportunities.