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Book Sections Year : 2022

The apprehensive in Kambaata (Cushitic): Form, meaning and origin

Yvonne Treis


Kambaata, a Cushitic language, has a dedicated, fully grammaticalised apprehensive paradigm without known parallels in related or neighbouring languages. This chapter presents an analysis of the morphology, syntax, meaning and origin of the apprehensive. Morphological and syntactic criteria demonstrate its main clause status. Data from a variety of sources show that the apprehensive is employed in direct dialogue. It encodes that a situation is unrealised at reference time, considered possible in the future and judged by the speaker to be undesirable, if not dangerous for any discourse participant. The primary function of the Kambaata apprehensive, in any person, is to express warnings to the addressee, who is alerted to avert the danger. Apprehensive forms of the first person may also serve as a threat. In the second person, the apprehensive has come to express prohibition. Based on detailed language-internal evidence, this chapter demonstrates that the apprehensive paradigm is likely to have resulted from the fusion of a periphrastic verb form in the recent history of the language. The source construction consisted of an affirmative same subject purposive converb plus the existential copula and may have first served to express intentional/imminent future.
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Dates and versions

hal-03095794 , version 1 (04-01-2021)
hal-03095794 , version 2 (30-04-2021)


  • HAL Id : hal-03095794 , version 2


Yvonne Treis. The apprehensive in Kambaata (Cushitic): Form, meaning and origin. Martina Faller, Eva Schultze-Berndt & Marine Vuillermet. Apprehensional constructions in a cross-linguistic perspective, Language Science Press, In press. ⟨hal-03095794v2⟩
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