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Description, Typology, Fieldwork

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A morphosyntactic description of Xamtanga, an Agaw (Central Cushitic) language of the northern Ethiopian highlands

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Scientific framework and objectives

This doctoral thesis by Chloé Darmon was defended in November 2015. It was supervised by Gérard Philippson and funded by a grant from Lyon 2 University (2009-2012). It deals with the morphosyntax of Xamtanga, a Central Cushitic (Agaw) language of the northern Ethiopian Highlands numbering approximately 200,000 speakers. The previous studies of David Appleyard (1987) and Leo Reinisch (1884) were essentially concerned with the phonology and the morphology of the language. Building on these works, the dissertation aimed at providing a description of Xamtanga that focused on the analysis of some typologically interesting features, such as multiple causatives, different types of applicative periphrases, and the system of case marking partly driven by the animacy/definiteness hierarchy. It additionally addressed the role of language contact between Agaw and Ethio-Semitic inside the Ethiopian linguistic area. This research was based on data (texts and elicitations) from the little known Abɨrgälle dialect collected during four fieldtrips funded by the French Center of Ethiopian Studies (2009, 2011), Paris city hall (PJA 2009), and Lyon 2 University (Aires culturelles 2010).

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