Tid: Torsdag 5 november 2015, kl. 15:00–17:00
Plats: C307, Södra huset, Frescati

Postseminarium följer direkt efter seminariet i institutionens pentry.


This talk is about the function, syntactic feature, and grammaticalization of verbs of ‘get up’, ‘pick up’, ‘grasp’, and ‘take’ in Transversal South Ethio-Semitic languages (TSE) that include Amharic, Argobba, Harari, Wolane, Zay, and Selt’i. The verbs, which mainly appear in converb form, share the same subject and object, tense, and modality as the consecutive reference verbs; they cannot be negated. Except the verb for ‘get up’, the others only co-occur with transitives.

läħatima ‘grasp’ in 1(a) is semantically bleached and used to identify the preliminary act or inception phase of the event encoded by the following verb, hence the name ‘inceptive construction’ (cf. Bodomo 1997, De Vos 2005, Wiklund 2009). Three main parts/phases are considered to exist in a complex event: an obligatory ‘core’ and two optional ones, i.e. ‘inceptive’ and ‘terminative’. The above (con)verbs are considered to give focus to the inceptive part in TSE languages. They also render volition, emphasis and/or surprise reading.


Converbs in TSE languages are known to grammaticalize/lexicalize and function, among other things, as an adverb, adposition, causative, subordinating conjunction/complementizer, and part of a lexical juxtaposition (cf. Meyer 2012, Leslau 1970, 1997, Gutt 1997). The converbs used in the inceptive construction and those in the other usages show a number of interesting morphological and syntactic similarities and differences.

In a related topic, the nature of the Amharic conjunction –nna ‘and’, which is used to link the verbs (other than the converb) that mark the inceptive phase with the following reference verb, and ‘insubordination’ or the occasional main verb use of converbs, which are rather known to be dependent, will be presented in some detail (cf. Haspelmath 1995, Evans 2007, Baye 2008).

Hjärtligt välkomna

Ljuba Veselinova