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Amharic 'eat' and 'drink' verbs

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Abstract

‘Eat’ and ‘drink’ verbs in Amharic (Semitic) have a number of interesting linguistic properties. The basic morphosyntactic properties of these verbs in Amharic are reviewed, including the unusual patterning of these verbs in causative constructions, as remarked upon by Amberber (this volume) and others. Figurative extensions of the two verbs are prolific and an attempt is made to give a coherent account of these extensions drawing upon ideas from Newman’s (1997) account of the English <i>eat </i>and <i>drink </i>extensions. In particular, it proves useful to distinguish figurative extensions based on the sensation of the consumer from figurative extensions based on the image of destruction or disappearance of the consumed entity. These two separate aspects of ingestive acts inform both the account of the figurative extensions of Amharic ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ as well as the morphosyntax associated with these verbs.

References

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