Morphosyntactic Structures of Existential, Possessive and Locative Constructions in Amharic



Getahun, A.


Work Unit:

Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia


Vol.9 No.2 (Serial No.15) 2021






This paper lays out the morphosyntactic structures of existential, locative and possessive constructions in Amharic. Amharic belongs to South Ethio-Semitic language subfamily. It is natively spoken in the Amhara region and used as the first and the second language for some urban dwellers in the country. It is a working language for the Federal Government of Ethiopia. It serves the same in Gambella, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ and Benishangul-Gumuz regional states. The Amharic existential, possessive and locative constructions are characterized by using the same existential verb stem all-‘exist’. The verb is defective in its derivation and conjugation. Unlike the prototypical verbs of the language, the existential verb uses a different verb for imperfective and past verb forms. Unlike the regular verbs of the language, the existential verb, which is perfective in form, conveys present tense. It has been observed that indefinite nominals appear as the E (Existent) in existentials and possessives, whereas definite ones appear in locatives. The morphosyntactic features of existentials and locatives are the same in every aspect except the use of definiteness of the E (Existent). The possessives differ from the two constructions in word order and morphological structure of the verb.

Key Words:

root, radical, existence, location, possession, morphosyntactic structures, Amharic


doi: 10.26478/ja2021.9.15.2


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