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Benefactives and malefactives in Gumer (Gurage)

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Abstract

Gumer (West-Gurage, South Ethiosemitic) has three suffixes to mark objects on the verb: &#8216;primary object&#8217;, &#8216;benefactive&#8217;, &#8216;malefactive/locative/instrumental&#8217;. BEN and MAL can occur with every verb to express in a rather broad sense that the event is &#8216;to one&#8217;s benefit&#8217; or &#8216;to one&#8217;s detriment&#8217;. BEN covers the benefactive senses &#8216;recipient&#8217;, &#8216;deputative&#8217;, and &#8216;plain&#8217;. Generally, BEN and MAL express non-core participants. The three suffixes are mutually exclusive: if there are two concurring objects, the most salient candidate is chosen (which usually is BEN or MAL). Overt nominals BEN are marked with <i>ye-</i>, the same prefix that marks recipients. MAL are marked with <i>ye-</i> or <i>be-</i>. A construction with a subordinate form of <i>barem</i> &#8216;say&#8217; (&#8220;saying for NP&#8221;) also expresses benefactives.

References

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