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Journal of African Languages and Linguistics

Ed. by Ameka, Felix K. / Amha, Azeb

2 Issues per year


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Rank 89 out of 179 in category Linguistics in the 2015 Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Report/Social Sciences Edition

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Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 1.305
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Online
ISSN
1613-3811
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Volume 30, Issue 1 (Jan 2009)

Issues

Differential object marking in Tigrinya

Dirk Kievit / Saliem Kievit
  • SIL Ethiopia
Published Online: 2009-08-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/JALL.2009.004

Abstract

Tigrinya, a Semitic language spoken in Eritrea and Ethiopia, is one of about 300 known languages world-wide that mark certain direct object nominals while leaving others unmarked. Cross-linguistically, this phenomenon, known as differential object marking (DOM), is most often correlated with the relative definiteness and/or animacy of the object. The divergence among languages in DOM is explained in Optimality Theory by the different ways in which languages resolve the tension between iconicity (favoring marked structures) on the one hand and economy (penalizing marking) on the other hand. Based on a statistical analysis of object marking in a chapter of a contemporary Tigrinya novel, this paper argues that Tigrinya is an example of two-dimensional DOM in which nominal object marking largely correlates with the definiteness and, to a lesser degree, the animacy of the object. The paper also considers the relationship between nominal and verbal object marking.

About the article

Published Online: 2009-08-21

Published in Print: 2009-08-01


Citation Information: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3811, ISSN (Print) 0167-6164, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/JALL.2009.004. Export Citation

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[1]
Gerrit J. Dimmendaal
Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, 2010, Volume 31, Number 1

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