Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences | Department of Asian and African Studies | Regional Departments | African Studies | Events | Upcoming Events | 01.11. Colloquium on African linguistics: Predicative Possession in Amharic (Wakweya Olani)

01.11. Colloquium on African linguistics: Predicative Possession in Amharic (Wakweya Olani)

“Predicative Possession in Amharic” - Talk by Wakweya Olani Gobena (Universität Potsdam) given within the colloquium of African linguistics and languages
  • When Nov 01, 2022 from 04:15 to 05:45
  • Where Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, Invalidenstr. 118, room 410 & via Zoom
  • Contact Name Christfried Naumann (christfried.naumann (AT) hu-berlin.de, please contact for Zoom access information)
  • iCal

This paper investigates predicative possession in Amharic (Ethiosemitic, Afroasiatic). It focuses on the formal and functional characteristics of possessive predications following Heineʼs (1997) and Stassenʼs (2009) typological models. Informant consultation, online searches and introspection were the major data sources. While the existential verb allə ‘there is/exists’ is the regular possessive predicator which inflects with subject and object suffixes, two action verbs jaz- ‘to hold’ and akabbət- ‘to accumulate’ also convey possession in their grammaticalized senses. Besides peculiarities regarding verb form and word order, the possessive constructions are multi-functional and correlate the lexical natures and/or syntactic roles of the arguments. The possessive predication involving a copula with the possessum (POSM) as subject and the possessor (POSR) as complement is often used referring to ownership (true possession) unlike the verb allə which is more polysemous. In almost all forms of possessive predications except the copular ones, the POSM nouns remain indefinite. Interestingly, the locational structure involving the POSR as locative adjunct needs an indefinite POSM as subject for its possessive sense as in məs’ɨhaf lɨʤu ɡa allə ‘The boy has books’/Lit.: ‘A book is with the boy’. With the definite subject, the clause conveys a mere location (cf. məs’ɨhafu lɨʤu ɡa allə ‘The book is with the boy’). The existential and locational forms of possessive predications convey varieties of more specific senses within their possessive semantic category. The meaning variation depends on the linear order of arguments, predicate types, and the context.

References
Stassen, L. (2009). Predicative possession. Oxfordː Oxford University Press.
Heine, B. (1997). Possession: Cognitive Sources, Forces, and Grammaticalization. Cambridgː Cambridge University Press.