2 maps, 2 colour photos, 1 chart, numerous tables, appendix A: 2 Argobba-Texte mit Interlinearübersetzung, appendix B: Paradigmen zu Objektkongruenz und Verbalzeiten, index
Text language: German
Argobba is an endangered language which belongs to the South-Ethiosemitic sub-branch of the Afroasiatic language phylum. It is spoken by the ethnic community of the Argobba in the areas of northeast Shewa and southeast Wollo in central Ethiopia. Due to the dominance of Amharic and Oromo, the number of Argobba speakers is continually decreasing: the most recent survey of 1994 resulted in a number of 10,900 speakers only. This means that in 1994 only about every sixth Argobba still spoke this language.
While, for a long time, it had been said to be a dialect of Amharic, today Argobba is classified as an independent language. There are several local varieties of which two are known. The one described here in detail is the variety spoken in the villages of Shonke and T’ollaha in the Ethiopian Wällo region. Especially remarkable for this variety is a set of archaic features which include, for example, pharyngeal consonants and a complex allocation of allomorphs of dependent object markers.
The contents of the present grammar are listed in the order of the structural levels of the language description.
The introduction summarizes the state of knowledge regarding the classificatory and sociolinguistic situation of Argobba, the state of research as well as the historic and socio-cultural key data of the Argobba ethnic community. The introductory chapter ends with a short description of the research this grammar is based on.
The actual description of the language starts with the presentation of its phonological system, followed by three chapters dealing with the verbal complex from a morphological perspective: A description of the non-linear template structure typical for Semitic languages; The TAM system and verbal derivation; The nominal complex including pronouns, adverbs, numerals and quantifiers as well as relational nouns, and the group of functional elements like ad-positions and particles. The subsequent chapter is dedicated to syntactical questions.
The present study ends with two appendices: The first contains two shorter exemplary texts with interlinearization, the second two different paradigms completing the paradigmatic forms which in the previous chapters are only partially described.