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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton December 7, 2012

Categorial hybrids in Kambaata

  • Yvonne Treis EMAIL logo


The paper discusses three categorial hybrids in the East Cushitic language Kambaata, viz. negative participles, agent adjectives and verbal nouns, all of which are shown to combine properties of two word classes (lexical categories) systematically. Unlike their affirmative counterparts, Kambaata negative relative verbs qualify as verbal adjectives (participles), because, apart from having verbal inflectional morphology and a completely verbal argument structure, they have also acquired adjectival morphology to indicate case/gender agreement with their head nouns. The combination of verbal and adjectival features is less balanced for agent adjectives, which retain fewer properties of the verbs they are based on; however, they are still able to govern objects and be modified by adverbial clauses. Kambaata verbal nouns behave almost entirely like verbs in relation to their dependents but as nouns with respect to the clause where they feature as arguments. I argue that the negative participle formation and the verbal noun formation are inflectional processes which change the word form word class from verb to adjective and verb to noun, respectively, but which preserve the properties of the lexeme word class (Verb). In contrast, the agent adjective formation is analysed as a derivational process with a greater impact on the lexeme word class.

Published Online: 2012-12-07
Published in Print: 2012-12-11

©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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