PANEL 6.04

Complex Predicates in Ethiopian Languages

Azeb Amha , University of Leiden, Netherlands;
Anne-Christie Hellenthal , Department of Linguistics, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

There has been considerable theoretical interest on complex predicates over the past years. However, as Amberber, Baker and Harvey (2010: 1) state: "There is currently no widely accepted answer ..., no agreed set of criteria which allow an analyst to classify Construction A as a 'complex predicate' and Construction B as a 'not a complex predicate'". Most authors mentioned the following as characteristics of complex predicates:
- it comprises a sequence of (verbal) predicates
- the sequence of predicates are seen as related structurally and semantically
- typically, the verbs in the sequence share an argument as well as tense, aspect, modality and/or polarity. Among others, construction types included under 'complex predicates' are: periphrastic causatives (Amharic: ïndimät'a adärrägä 'made him come'), Converb-Verb constructions (Amharic: yïzo mät't'a 'brought'), particle + verb constructions (Amharic: sïbbïrr alä, 'it broke'), ideophone + verb constructions (t'äbb t'äbb alä 'it dripped'). Several scholars have demonstrated that Ethiopian languages have a rich variety of complex predicates (cf. Appleyard (2001) on Qafar, Tigrigna and Amharic; Hetzron (1969) on Agaw languages; Sim (1989) on Hadiyya; Amberber (1996, 2010) on Amharic, Wetter (2010) on Argobba, among others). However, for a number of languages the phenomenon has not been investigated at all. The rationale behind the panel proposal is to bring together those working on different language families in Ethiopia to discuss theoretical and empirical issues in studying these construction types and find out if there are various typologies of complex predicates, and examine historical processes such as grammaticalization as well as contact phenomenon. We will specifically address issues such as: how are complex predicate clauses distinguished from multi-clausal constructions or clause-chains? What are the semantic differences between a complex predicate and its mono-verbal counter-part (e.g. täsäbbärä vs. sïbbïrr alä)? What are the morphological properties of the component verbs? Is any of the component (verbal) predicates obligatorily marked as a dependent verb or does the language string together unmarked or fully inflected verbs? Is the order of component predicates fixed? What is the selection criteria of verbs, i.e. are V1 or V2 restricted or can they be freely generated? Can the whole complex predicate be subordinated or nominalized? How are modality and polarity values marked in clauses headed by complex predicates?

> Return to the list of selected panels




The Semantics of Complex Predicates in Amharic Counterfactual Conditional Constructions



Complex predicates in Zargulla



Benefactive applicative periphrases with y?w- ‘to give’ in Xamtanga



An Overview of Gede'o


HELLENTHAL Anne-Christie

Complex predicates and clause chains in Sheko


TSUGE Yoichi

Converb in Aari



Complex Predicate in Awngi


Authors are advised to submit their paper to the Organizing Committee
before September 30, 2012

Papers will be published as pre-proceedings on the website, under each panel section.

Papers should be limited to ca. 5000 words or 30,000 signs (including spaces).

Papers have to be submitted online, by uploading under each panel section (go to the page of the panel in which your paper is selected and upload your text).

Papers can also be sent to the Organizing Committee ( with specification of panel number.

Submitted papers will be directly transmitted to the panel organizers and published online after approval by the panel organizers.

Guidelines to authors for formatting papers:

Transilteration systems for Ethiosemitic languages

submit your paper (.doc / .odt / .pdf) *