March 11, 2015

Research Groups: Friday, March 13

Note that the fieldwork group meeting tomorrow is cancelled.

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Psycholinguistics Group
Ailís Cournane: "Michelle must be swimming: A developmental study on the role of aspect in modal meanings."

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Syntax/Semantics Group
Keffyalew Gebregziabher: "Contrasting (double) clitics and agreement markers: A view from Amharic and Tigrinya."

Both Amharic and Tigrinya (Semitic, Ethiopia; SOV) employ different pronominal affixes to co-reference the phi-features of possessors (1a) and droppable full subject and object arguments (1b). While subject pronominal affixes attach to the hosting head showing significant variation across different syntactic heads, possessor and object pronominal affixes attach to the hosting head almost invariably. In this work in progress, I discuss the nature of both possessor and object pronominal affixes (in comparison to subject pronominal affixes) in nominal (1a) and clausal possession (1c), and determine whether they are (doubled) clitics or agreement markers or neither.

In the Ethio-Semitic literature, there is a long debate whether such pronominal affixes in Amharic are clitics (cf. Mullen 1986) or agreement markers (cf. Yimam 2004) (see also Kramer 2014 and references cited therein for re-opening of the debate). While subject pronominal affixes are treated consistently as agreement markers, object pronominal affixes are still a matter of debate. Particularly, two hypotheses have been put forward to account for object pronominal affixes in Amharic: (a) object pronominal affixes are agreement markers (see Amberber 1996, Yimam 2004, among others) and (b) object pronominal affixes are doubled clitics (see Mullen 1986, Halefom 1994, among others). Using several (morpho-syntactic) diagnostics (Zwicky & Pullum 1983), I argue that neither the (doubled) clitic nor the agreement marker properties fully characterize the behavior of both Amharic and Tigrinya possessor and object pronominal affixes.

(1) a. məs’haf-wa (Amharic)
məs’ħaf-a (Tigrinya)
'her book'

b. lɨdʒ-ot∫t∫-u marta-n səddəb-u-wwat (Amharic)
child-PL-DEF Martha-ACC insult.PF-3MSG.SUBJ-3FSG.OBJ
Ɂɨt-om k’olʢu nɨ-marta s’ərif-omm-a (Tigrinya)
DET-MPL child.PLACC-Martha insult.PF-3MSG.SUBJ-3FSG.OBJ
'The children insulted Martha.'

c. aster sost məs'ħaf-ot∫t∫ ʡəll-u-wwat (Amharic)
Esther three book-PL COP-3MPL.SUBJ-3FSG.OBJ
aster sələstə məs'ħafti ʡəlləw-u-wwa (Tigrinya)
Esther three book.PL COP-3MPL.SUBJ-3FSG.OBJ
'Esther has three books.'

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