CFEE JOINT SEMINAR: Presentatives in Kambaata


CFEE Seminar on Contemporary Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa (2016-2017)

6e séance / 6th session: Presentatives in Kambaata par/by Yvonne Treis (CNRS-LLACAN)

In partnership with the Department of Linguistics and Philology of Addis Ababa University.

Lundi 13 mars 2017 (10h-12h) / Monday March 13th 2017 (10-12 AM).

Lieu / Venue : Institute of Language Studies, Room OCR 119 (First building to the left after the main gate), Sidist Kilo Campus, Addis Ababa University

Presentatives in Kambaata
par/by Yvonne Treis (CNRS-LLACAN)

Kambaata is a Highland East Cushitic language spoken in the Southern Region of Ethiopia. After a short introduction into the sociolinguistic situation and the major grammatical characteristics of the language, this seminar focusses on a typologically uncommon system of presentatives. While many European languages have one, at most two grammaticalised presentatives at their disposal – see French voilà / voici– Kambaata has a dedicated paradigm of 12 presentative forms, which are used to point out and call the attention to an entity or event. The presentatives specify the approximate location (proximal, medial, distal) of the presented entity and provide information on the nature of the entity (gender: masculine vs. feminine; number: singular vs. plural). Formally, the Kambaata presentatives are one type of demonstrative, besides attributive and pronominal demonstratives. Dedicated presentative demonstratives are used in two functions:

  • Exophoric function: They serve to point out or present objects (or persons) to an addressee. This use is usually accompanied by a pointing or a transfer gesture. See (1).
  • Function as a discourse signal: They serve to focus or attract an addressee’s attention to a (noteworthy, surprising, extraordinarily positive or negative) event described in discourse. This use is not accompanied by a pointing gesture. See (2).
  1.  (Context: Speaker A doesn’t see his coffee cup on the table and asks where it is. Speaker B picks up the cup, hands it over to him and says:)
    ‘Here he (= the coffee: buná(m) ‘coffee’) is!’
  2.  Aayíchch “daqqan-teenánta”  y-itáa-’e               bagáan
    fNOM   meet.REC-2pIPV         say-3fIPV-1sO    CONTR
    kú’nn                   daqqam-mu’nnáan   kabar-ée          iill-íneemm.
    PTV.DEM1ms     meet.REC-1pNCO  today-mDAT  reach-1pPVE
    ‘Mum used to tell me “You will meet [one day]” but – Look! – we haven’t met up to today.’

My analysis is based on data from recorded speech events, observation and written sources.

The speaker

Yvonne Treis is a CNRS research fellow at LLACAN (Language, Langues et Cultures d’Afrique Noire), France. She works on the description of the Cushitic language Kambaata and the Omotic language Baskeet. Besides her work on morphology and syntax, she is especially interested in ethnolinguistic topics (e.g. language taboo, ceremonial language) and phenomena of language contact.

Modérateur / Moderator : Chloé Darmon (CFEE – AAU) .

Photo: Yvonne Treis (2016)

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