A Grammar of Dime

Author: Mulugeta Seyoum
LOT Number: 178
ISBN: 978-90-78328-52-0
Pages: 281
Year: 2008
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This book presents the first comprehensive study of Dime, an endangered Omotic language spoken by about 5400 speakers in south­west Ethiopia. The study presents an analysis of the phonology, morphology and syntax of the language as well as a sample of ten texts and an extensive word list. The author identifies a number of interesting comparative and typological phenomena. These include a series of uvular and velar fricatives which have not been reported in related languages. Dime has a two­way grammatical gender distinction and a special plural­agreement, both manifested on modifying categories. Rather than inflecting the same base pronoun­forms for various cases, as is common in other Omotic languages, Dime uses distinct subject pronoun sets that are formally different from object, dative and other pronoun types. Phrasal word­order is flexible; there is also a degree of flexibility in marking grammatical morphemes such as number, definiteness and case which may be marked either on the head noun or on the modifier or on both. Sentence­type distinction between interrogative and declarative clauses is partly expressed through morpheme reduction on the verb. That is, in the declarative, person­agreement morphemes are obligatory whereas these must be dropped in the interrogative. These and a number of other issues discussed in the study make the work interesting for specialists on Omotic and Afroasiatic studies as well as to general linguists interested in language typology.

This book presents the first comprehensive study of Dime, an endangered Omotic language spoken by about 5400 speakers in south­west Ethiopia. The study presents an analysis of the phonology, morphology and syntax of the language as well as a sample of ten texts and an extensive word list. The author identifies a number of interesting comparative and typological phenomena. These include a series of uvular and velar fricatives which have not been reported in related languages. Dime has a two­way grammatical gender distinction and a special plural­agreement, both manifested on modifying categories. Rather than inflecting the same base pronoun­forms for various cases, as is common in other Omotic languages, Dime uses distinct subject pronoun sets that are formally different from object, dative and other pronoun types. Phrasal word­order is flexible; there is also a degree of flexibility in marking grammatical morphemes such as number, definiteness and case which may be marked either on the head noun or on the modifier or on both. Sentence­type distinction between interrogative and declarative clauses is partly expressed through morpheme reduction on the verb. That is, in the declarative, person­agreement morphemes are obligatory whereas these must be dropped in the interrogative. These and a number of other issues discussed in the study make the work interesting for specialists on Omotic and Afroasiatic studies as well as to general linguists interested in language typology.

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