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Grammaticalization of Body-Part Terms in Ethiosemitic

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Chapter Summary

The main objective of this chapter is identifying the possible instances of the processes of grammaticalization of body part terms in more than ten Ethiosemitic languages. Grammatical morphemes (grams) evolve from lexical morphemes (lexemes). A grammaticalizing morpheme shifts from a category with large membership to a category with smaller and smaller membership; it becomes more and more schematic in meaning and shorter in length; and it also tends to be polyfunctional. The grammaticalization paths taken could also be mentioned in this fashion: (body part) OBJECT > LOCATIVE > TEMPORAL > CONDITIONAL, CAUSAL, and ADVERSATIVE. Some of the instances seem to be peculiar: the Amharic prepositionwädä'to' (ALLATIVE) which derives from the word for 'hand'; the third person pronouns which derive from the words for 'stomach' (Argobba), 'soul' (Tigrinya), and 'head' (Amharic). The chapter deals with the evolution of adpositions and formation of Personal Pronouns.

Keywords: ethiosemitic languages; grammatical morphemes; grammaticalization; personal pronouns



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