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Grammatical change in the Amharic possessive construction

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The predicative possessive construction in Amharic exhibits a mismatch in grammatical coding: the possessor receives object marking on the verb while the overt NP exhibits phenomena associated with nominative case in Amharic. This article investigates the mismatch in light of its historical development as attested in archaisms found in proverbs and old Biblical texts, examines both overt and covert syntactic properties of the possessor today, and also considers evidence from other related constructions. The possessive construction developed from the existential construction where the possessor corresponded to a locative/recipient and today shows evidence of developing subject status.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2009

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  • International Journal sponsored by the Foundation "Foundations of Language"

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