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Adams, B. A. (1983) A tagmemic analysis of the Wolaitta language. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Wolaitts is a member of the Omotio group of languages clustered around the Omo river in southern Ethiopia. The thesis represents a data-intensive analysis of the phonology and syntax of this language. The theory of language in which this analysis is framed is the tagmemio one, which, among other things, assumes the existence of phonological and grammatical hierarchies within a language. The first part of the thesis deals with the phonological levels in Wolaitts: the phoneme, syllable, phonological-word, phonological phrase, phonological-clause, and phonological-sentence. Important phonological features of Wolaitts, such as gemination, vowel length, stress, and tone are discussed and exemplified. The rest of the thesis treats the various levels in the grammatical hierarchy. Starting with the clause level, basic clause types are identified, along with their variants and entailments. Exotic entailed clause types, such as the causative-passive-reciprocal clause, are considered together with the accompanying complex morphology. The majority of dependent clauses are shown basically to be embedded within the structure of clausal subordinating postpositional phrases. The clause in microcosm is then seen in the verb phrase and the verb. The numerous aspect categories which are expressed morphologically in the Wolsitts verb phrase are given a prominent place in the analysis; there are at least 21 such categories, e.g., experiential, immediacy, durative, exclusion, etc. Nominal phrases are next treated, together with postpositional phrases, numeral phrases, adjective phrases, and nominalized phrases. The "headless" relative construction, which is a feature typical of the languages of that area is described. Nouns are then analysed, the complicated, morphological feature of definiteness being highlighted. These major sections are followed by chapters containing a brief treatment of sentences, and the other word classes: ie. preforms, determiners, adjectives, numerals, and particles. Only surface structure phenomena have been utilized for the analysis. An attempt has been made to avoid appealing to deep structure in determining the identities and category status of Wolaitta language features.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
Additional Information: Thesis digitised by Proquest LLC
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Copyright Statement: © The author
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2018 17:42

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