Bi-consonantal reduplication in Amharic and Ethio-Semitic
This dissertation is a study of the consonant reduplication process in Amharic, a process which is herein named “Bi-Consonantal Reduplication.” In this process, the last two consonants of a root are repeated, a process that has never been studied in a systematic way in Amharic or any other Semitic language.
Previous authors have used a variety of labels for this process, too often writing their definitions in ways that include other types of reduplication or that exclude some genuine examples of this reduplication pattern. This dissertation provides a more precise definition for this process that includes all and only genuine examples, leading to the new label “Bi-Consonantal Reduplication” (BCR). It is shown that some additional classes of forms are clearly derived by BCR, though it had previously been assumed that these were derived by a totally different process of reduplication.
This dissertation also contains a survey of the semantic categories represented by words derived by BCR. BCR is shown to mark certain semantic categories frequently, including impairment of gait, and dressing up fancy.
It is shown that derived forms from certain types of roots can be inflected as verbs, but derived forms from other types of roots cannot. The latter can be used for verbal functions as the non-inflected lexical bases of compound verbs or as nouns and adjectives. Also, this study has led to the discovery and identification of certain classes of roots that cannot be reduplicated by BCR.
The dissertation provides evidence that BCR was a part of Semitic at a very early stage. Evidence is presented of BCR in languages where it had been previously overlooked, and a hypothesis is given for why it has been lost in certain other languages.