A Grammar of Sidaama (Sidamo), a Cushitic Language of Ethiopia
Author: Ka z uh i r o Kawa c hi
Publisher: University at Buffalo, the State University of New York
Publication date: 2007
Number of pages: 842
Format / Quality: pdf-zipped
The present study describes the grammatical structure of Sidaama, a Highland
East Cushitic language spoken in the south-central part of Ethiopia. Sidaama is spoken
by over 1,800,000 people, but there has been relatively little research on the language.
Chapter 1 (introduction) gives background information on the Sidaama language
and the Sidaama people, briefly reviews previous studies, and discusses the methodology
used in the present study.
Chapters 2-5 use basic linguistic theory (Dixon 1997, Dryer 2006) to describe
the phonology and morphosyntax of Sidaama, and Chapter 6 examines the event
integration patterns (Talmy 1991, 2000b) as one property of semantic structuring in this
Chapter 2 (phonology) lists the phonemes, the consonant clusters, and the
geminates, describes suprasegmentals (syllables and moras, pitch accent, intonation, and
pause), and presents morphophonemic rules.
Chapter 3 (parts of speech) describes characteristics of parts of speech. The
topics discussed in this chapter include types of nouns and verbs, similarities between
adjectives and nouns and between adjectives and verbs, various pronominal forms, and
Chapter 4 (morphology) discusses reduplication of verb roots, suprafixes on
nouns and adjectives, and suffixes on nouns, adjectives, and verbs. It also examines the
ordering relationship of the suffixes.
Chapter 5 (syntax) discusses four topics on the syntax of Sidaama. The first
section looks into grammatical relations in terms of how they are coded and in what
constructions they occur. The second topic of Chapter 5 is word order. The third section
of Chapter 5 discusses two types of external possessor construction, the oblique
possessum external possessor construction and the dative possessor external possessor
construction. The fourth section examines the structures of relative clauses and the types
of elements that can be relativized.
Chapter 6 (semantics) examines the semantic structure of Sidaama, which shows
characteristics of a verb-framed language, in terms of how it expresses different types of
events, using Talmy’s (1985, 1991, 2000b) typological framework of event integration.
It investigates how the schematic and the non-schematic components of the five types of
events (motion, state change, realization, temporal contouring, and action correlating)
appear morphosyntactically in this language.