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Causative of the 'Passive' in Amharic
Bezza Tesfaw Ayalew
53-64 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Two affixes, {a-} and {as-}, are commonly analyzed with the causative function in the verb morphology of Amharic (a Semitic language of Ethiopia). The affix {a-} applies to non-agentive bases to derive simple causative or agentive verbs. In contrast, {as-} derived verbs are mainly interpreted as causatives of their passive forms despite the fact that the affix {as-} never applies to the passive stems. Also, the application of the affix does not depend on the agentivity of the base: it applies to both agentive and non-agentive basic stems. This situation has limited descriptions of the affix to be based on the system of meaning within derived stems (see Appleyard, 1972). This paper attempts to describe the function of the affix based on morphological grounds by identifying the passive basis of the 'as-stem' causatives. The finding corroborates the prediction of Grimshaw's (1990) prominence theory of argument structure that a former external argument must be suppressed for a new external argument to be added via causativization.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages and Linguistics Today
edited by Eyamba G. Bokamba, Ryan K. Shosted, and Bezza Tesfaw Ayalew
Table of contents
Printed edition: $290.00