verb agreement in definiteness in A...

Edith A Moravcsik edith at CSD.UWM.EDU
Sat Nov 20 21:19:25 UTC 1999

Thanks to Stefan Georg for noting that the two sentences I posted before
came from Amharic rather than Abkhaz!

Amharic, however, is probably not the kind of language that Dunstan and
his colleagues are looking for. In Amharic, pronominal direct and indirect
objects are expressed as suffixes on the verb. The third person forms of
these suffixes may also be used along with a definite noun phrase object;
the use of the suffixes in such cases is optional and restricted to
definite direct objects (perhaps also definite indirect objects -
this was not clear in the source I looked up).

This is not a case of the verb agreeing with the object in definiteness
only for the following two reasons:
     a/ The verbal suffixes also differentiate gender of the object.
     b/ It is possible that the verb suffixes can also cooccur with
overt first and second person pronoun objects; in which case the verb
would be said to agree with the object not only in definiteness and
gender but also in person. I found no statement or example that
would make clear whether this is indeed the case.

Source of info: Serge Obelinsky & Debebow Zelelie & M. Andaulem. 1964.
                _Amharic basic course. I._ Washington, DC: Foreign
                Language Institute. Pp. 23, 51, 53.


			 Edith A. Moravcsik
			 Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics
			 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
		         Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

			 E-mail: edith at
		         Telephone: (414) 229-6794 /office/
				    (414) 332-0141 /home/
		         Fax: (414) 229-2741


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