Complex predicates involving an uninflected lexical base followed by the light verb 'to say' have been recognized by several scholars as a feature of the Ethiopian linguistic area that Ethio-Semitic languages acquired through contact-induced change with Cushitic. This paper examines the role of Agäw (Central Cushitic) in the areal diffusion of such light verb constructions (LVCs). In the first part, the author provides a description of the morphosyntactic properties of LVCs in Xamtanga, an Agäw language spoken in Northern Ethiopia. Using transitivizing patterns of LVCs as a criterion to classify languages of the area, the second part of the study argues that the Agäw cluster is possibly the source of the borrowing in early Ethio-Semitic.
Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages in Context
edited by Michael R. Marlo, Nikki B. Adams, Christopher R. Green, Michelle Morrison, and Tristan M. Purvis Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-453-9 library binding
xi + 337 pages
publication date: 2012
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA